PARENTS who drink alcohol while out for a meal with their children will be watched by restaurant and pub staff under new licensing controls.
New rules call for licensed premises staff in Midlothian to monitor the amount adults drink around youngsters.
They also warn that licensees have a duty to protect children from “strong language, violence or disorder”.
The council’s draft licensing policy sets out a series of measures to protect children and young people and crack down on underage drinking.
As well as staff “monitoring the consumption and level of intoxication from alcohol of those in charge of children whilst on the premises”, the policy includes a ban on children and young people being allowed access to organised events, such as sporting events, where an alcohol licence is granted or “vertical drinking establishments”.
They will only be allowed into licensed premises where a meal is being eaten and they will have to stay at least one metre away from any bar in any licensed premises.
The council is also proposing to introduce conditions for licensed premises to give police at least two weeks notice of any 18th and 21st birthday parties being held.
Edinburgh’s licensing board is also set to agree a new policy aimed at protecting children.
It could include banning under-16s from pubs and restaurants after a certain time, though sources insisted each licensing application would still be considered on its merits.
Industry bosses have warned a blanket curfew risks putting families off dining at businesses across the city and making visitors feel unwelcome.
The Edinburgh policy is due to be published later this month.
Midlothian’s draft policy, says the board has serious concerns about the prevalence of under-age drinking in the area and the links between excess consumption of alcohol and crime, in particular public disorder and violence.
The new licensing policy highlights Dalkeith, Thornybank, Straiton and Loanhead as areas where there is overprovision of licensed premises in the county making them less likely to approve additional off-sales or on-sales licences there in the future. It says alcohol-related harm in Dalkeith was twice as high as anywhere else in the county.
It also flags up other communities which it considers to be “areas of concern” in Penicuik Southeast, Bonnyrigg North, North Gorebridge, Gorebridge and Middleton and notes Newtongrange has almost triple the rate of alcohol related deaths per 10,000 population compared to the Midlothian average.