The alcohol industry has asked Westminster to prevent a bid by the Scottish Executive to ban promotions on booze.

The Wine and Spirit Trading Association has written to the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform on behalf of grocery retailers, off-licences and suppliers to ask the government to step in to stop the proposed legislation going through.

BERR said it was waiting for the Executive to reveal full details of the promotions ban, expected in the next few weeks, before deciding whether the new law was anti-competitive and whether to overrule the legislation. "Like any piece of legislation, the ban on alcohol promotions must comply with competition law," said a spokesman for BERR. "We will reply to the WSTA as soon as possible."

The WSTA and retail representatives met with Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to discuss the proposed ban last Thursday, but were told the Executive was determined to press ahead with the legislation in order to cut Scotland's high levels of alcohol consumption.

"We believe these proposals are anti-competitive and hope that Westminster will step in," said WSTA chief executive Jeremy Beadles. "This will create two different marketplaces in the UK.

"Retailers operating north and south of the border will have to develop different marketing and advertising campaigns, different bar codes and potentially different IT systems."

The Scottish Executive also plans to force retailers to sell alcohol from a limited designated zone within a store.