England's long-awaited smoking regulations will be published within days before Parliament's summer recess, according to officials.
With Parliament's summer break rapidly approaching on 25 July, the Department of Health (DoH) is desperate to get smoking ban details out to licensees.
Publication will provide the information required by operators to prepare for 2007's ban on smoking in enclosed public places, such as the rules governing outside shelters.
Speaking at the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group's annual dinner at the Institute of Civil Engineers in London last night, chairman John Grogan MP told guests that he had been told they would be published before the recess.
Although the Health Bill is unlikely to have completed its Parliamentary passage before this time, with Royal Assent still to come, the Government is conscious that a three-month consultation process must then be conducted before final sign off.
A spokeswoman for the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers said: "I think the DoH is moving heaven and earth to get these regulations out before the recess. Although not ideal, if they miss this deadline they will likely publish during the summer break ahead of the return of Parliament on 9 October."
A DoH spokeswoman would not confirm an exact date but said: "The smoking regulations will be presented shortly, despite there being no date set yet for the bill to receive Royal Assent."
By Chris Druce