Pubs have not received the final regulations on the smoking ban yet and without them cannot move forward with their planning applications, according to the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA). Rob Hayward, chief executive of the BBPA, told delegates at the SmokeFree conference in Liverpool that the guidelines need to be issued as soon as possible. Hayward said: “The sooner companies and venues can submit planning applications and local authorities can process them, the easier it is for customers, pubs and bars to make the transition.” He described it as a two-point process that required both the date and the regulations to be announced. Hayward said: “All indications are that the regulations will mirror the Scottish ones and we are advising our members to prepare for the applications based on those.” He emphasized that two main lessons that can be learnt from the introduction of the ban in Scotland and Ireland. Hayward said: “There is a real need for councils to make rapid progress in processing the applications, because in Scotland a lot of applications were still pending approval when the ban came into force. “The guidelines need to be as clear as possible, to avoid inconsistencies across local authorities.” The BBPA attacked the proposed fines, which could penalise licensees up to £2,500 for allowing smoking in their premises, while smokers would only have to pay £50. It expects the guidelines to be issued before the end of next year, but has no information about a set date.