Filling stations to flout booze ban
Five filling stations in the Netherlands will begin selling alcohol again from Thursday, despite a ban dating from 2000.
One petrol station owner in the eastern town of Hoogeveen, Ewout Klok, said he was well aware that it was against the law for him to sell alcohol, but he aimed to provoke a test case.
The ban on alcohol sales in filling stations was introduced as a road safety measure to discourage drink driving. But it’s “symbolic legislation” according to Mr Klok, who heads the fuel retailers trade association BETA. Filling stations in neighbouring countries even sell spirits like cognac and whisky, he points out.
BETA hopes the illegal sales will lead to court case and a European ruling in the association's favour. “We’re appealing for equality before the law,” Mr Klok says.
The BETA chief’s announcement in October that he planned to start illegally selling booze to motorists met with a chorus of disapproval from the Health Ministry, traffic safety group VVN, and the Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy STAP.
It is down to the Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority rather than the police to enforce the roadside alcohol ban.
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