The British Beer and Pub Association has made a move to limit excessive and irresponsible promotions. The UK pub retailers' group has issued new guidelines to its members outlawing a range of special offers and marketing techniques that contribute to alcohol abuse.

The voluntary ban covers "women drink free" promotions, drinking games and offers where customers can drink as much as they want for a flat fee.

Happy Hour promotions are aimed at attracting after-work drinkers but, because they encourage consumers to drink a lot in a short space of time, they have been blamed for increasing binge-drinking, an issue the government has been concerned to address.

The association, which represents about half the country's 59,000 pubs and bars, said its members can continue to host and advertise promotions as long as they are responsible. It encouraged other pubs and bars and retailers to follow its lead.

The association's director of communications, Mark Hastings, said: "Offers such as pay £10 on the door and all drinks are free, drinking games, and schemes that encourage people to drink too much too quickly have no place in our sector and we are determined to stamp them out.

"With the backing of the Government, the police and licensing authorities, we aim to ensure that all pubs operate to these standards of corporate and community social responsibility.

"Responsible promotions do have an important role to play in a pub business and are in the interests of consumers. But irresponsible promotions damage the reputation of the sector, drive down quality and standards and have no place in a well-managed licensed business."