Mistakes made introducing the smoking ban in Scotland look set to be repeated in England unless action is taken, hospitality trade associations have warned.
With the health bill yet to complete its journey through Parliament, the industry fears corners will be cut to get the law in place by the Government's target of summer 2007.
"It's going to be tight," warned Martin Couchman, deputy chief executive of the British Hospitality Association. "Even if the bill gets through by July there needs to be a 12-week consultation on the regulations."
Couchman warned council planning departments would again be placed at the sharp end.
"This was a big issue in Scotland. Bottlenecks were created at local council planning departments and they struggled to cope," he added.
Nick Bish, chief executive of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, agreed. "We need to learn from the Scottish experience and last year's licensing debacle and think this through properly," he said.