The pub closure rate has slowed to 29 per week for the first six months of 2010, according to CGA, writes John Harrington. Meanwhile, one in 10 nightclubs have also shut in the past 12 months, according to CGA chief executive Jon Collins. "Our data says that about 10% of nightclubs have closed in the last 12 months," he said. "You'll know that the pub closure rate that hit a historic high of 52 pubs per week net closure, well that's gone back down now to 29 pubs closing in the first half of 2010. "That's still 50 closures, offset by 21 openings. "That's still incredibly high compared to years gone by, so at this time when the market is contracting and consumers are coming out less, the idea that [Government] policy needs to be aimed at town centres being out of control and more sanctions being needed just doesn't ring true." He was speaking at the launch of a report into student drinking habits and social norms, put together by AB InBev, Noctis and the National Union of Students. At the launch, Noctis executive director Paul Smith revealed plans for a project with NUS aimed at using social norms theory to encourage sensible drinking behaviour among students in "early 2011". The plan is to use the internet and posters to get across the idea that sensible drinking behaviour is normal. "In the next few weeks I'll be having a conversation with individual unis, now the report is out, about which messages, which effective behaviours, they want to focus on." Ben Whittaker of NUS said he wanted to "unpack" the drinking culture of some students to discover why they drink heavily. He stressed that NUS doesn't endorse activities such as bar crawls and games like pub golf. "I think there's a piece of work [to be done] around redefining what's a good night. "It's as if there's this perception that you need to drink 12 cans of Stella, get a pizza, be sick on the way home and can't remember anything from the night before...that is hailed as a good night."

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