The latest figures from CGA Strategy have shown the number of net pub closures flat at 29 per week for the last six months.

The Campaign for Real Ale, which commissioned the research, said the figures backed up its campaign to increase the number of pubs classed as assets of community value (ACV) from 800 at present to 3,000 by the end of 2016.

However, the British Beer & Pub Association warned against blanket measures and said the closure figures did not reflect the increasing confidence in the sector.

The 29-a-week figure for January to June is the same as the previous six months, which saw a drop from 31.

Tom Stainer, CAMRA’s head of communications, said: “We believe that ACV listing should be welcomed - and encouraged - by licensees who genuinely want to continue building their pub businesses and providing a fantastic local service to their communities. ACVs make no difference to those pubs and in fact offer a host of benefits for those licensees, give greater protection to tenants and also, we believe, enhance the chances of selling a pub on as a going concern.

“Ultimately our ACV campaign is about protecting pubs for the communities which currently use them, and for future generations of pub goers, as well as giving licensees who intend to carry on running pubs as going concerns as much help and support as possible.”

However, Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the BBPA, said: “We remain surprised at the pub closure numbers as these do not appear to reflect the increasing confidence we are now seeing in the pub sector, very much supported by Government action on beer duty, business rates and other measures introduced. Indeed our analysis of 2014 Ratings data showed the rate of pub closures falling.

“The BBPA supports the use of ACVs where the pub in question is genuinely of community and societal value and is likely to be subject to change of use in the near future. However, we do have concerns that new planning requirements for pubs nominated/listed as ACVs may reduce their value which has a clear effect not only on our members, but also for independent pub owners. On this basis we also are strongly opposed to blanket listing of pubs. It is even more important that robust evidence for ACV listing is provided on a pub-by-pub basis and each case considered on its own merit.”