Shepherd Neame, the Faversham-based family brewer, is helping to launch a new trade organisation to try to smooth the introduction of licensing reform.

The Kent Licensing Forum brings together police, pub companies and licensees to talk directly with local authorities as they take over the running of pub, bar, restaurant and off-licence drinks licenses under the new Licensing Act.

The brewer hopes the forum will help ease the introduction of control by local councils over licensing, which is expected to begin later next year. It hopes the forum will play the same role the Licensed Victuallers Associations used to perform in negotiations with licensing magistrates.