Andrew Lansley has again insisted the government will not rely on heavy-handed legislation to combat excessive drinking.

The health secretary was speaking yesterday at Drinkaware’s first annual conference.

“One of our key public health objectives must be to turn the corner on alcohol-related harm,” he said.

“[But] it’s not true to say the only way to break through the cycle is through punitive top-down measures. I believe we can change behaviours… without excessive, burdensome regulation.”

Lansley reiterated his commitment to “working in a real partnership” with both the industry and health campaigners.

“The change we are looking for [means] giving people information and choice, and enabling them to drive changes in their own behaviours is key to progress,” he added.

Lansley will be the keynote speaker at The Grocer’s upcoming Food & Health Debate, which takes place at Central Hall in Westminster on 2 February. The debate will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

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The Grocer’s health and food debate to be broadcast by BBC (24 January 2011)