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LGA Pavement Ban Demand

The Local Government Association has demanded the government take action to ban smoking from pavement bars and cafes

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Following Baroness Lindsay Northover’s ridiculous call to ban smoking from pavements being used for pub and restaurant seating, the Local Government Association (LGA) has repeated the demand, “for the benefit of a healthier society.” Concerns are that such measures are an imposition on business owners fighting to recover from the impact of the COVID lockdown and that it could then be extended to include vaping too.

The LGA says it, “is urging peers to support an amendment to the Business and Planning Bill to be debated in the House of Lords on Monday, which would make all pavement licences issued by councils subject to the condition that they are smoke-free places.

Those wishing to avoid exposure to second-hand smoke would normally be able to stay inside. But with the pandemic meaning indoor access is now more restricted, local authorities need the powers to reflect this new reality and to not put off people from going out to eat and drink.”

Councillor Paulette Hamilton, vice chair of the LGA’s community wellbeing board, told journalists: “Councils have worked hard to help hospitality businesses reopen, including relaxing requirements and making changes to roads and pavements to enable pubs, cafes and bars to operate outside safely with more outdoor seating.

“Pavement licensing should not be a catalyst to increase smoking in public places, putting people at greater risk of ingesting second-hand smoke when they are enjoying a drink or a meal. We urge peers to hand councils the ability to extend smoke-free areas to include pavements so this alfresco summer can be enjoyed by everyone.

“Reducing smoking in public places has been vital to improving public health, which councils are responsible for. Smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death and councils want to work with government on how to keep driving down smoking rates for the benefit of a healthier society.”

Speaking on BBC5Live Breakfast this Sunday, an incandescent Simon Clark, director of smoking pressure group FOREST, told Hamilton this was not the time for “political games”.

Clark, director of the smokers' group Forest, described the LA’s call as “insane”.

There is absolutely no justification for government to intervene on public health grounds because there is no evidence that smoking outside is a significant risk to non-smokers. Government should be reducing red tape, not adding to it with arbitrary regulations that can only hurt the hospitality industry."

This follows Baroness telling the House of Lords: “The ban on smoking inside public places has displaced smokers from using adjacent outdoor areas, which exposes passers-by and those going in, with staff as always worst affected.

“Pavement licences will exacerbate the problem as they are designed to make it easier for bars, restaurants and pubs to serve food and drink to customers on the pavement immediately outside their premises. While previously those wishing to avoid second-hand smoke could stay inside, remaining indoors is both more restricted and riskier because of the coronavirus.

Ranald Macdonald, managing director of Boisdale Restaurants in London, said: “It is bewildering how out of touch the Lords and LGA can be. They are sounding the death knell for a hospitality sector that is already on life support and needs all the help it can get to survive.

"The smoking ban in 2007 caused thousands of pubs and restaurants to close. Now, at a time when over a million jobs in hospitality are at risk of being lost due to the pandemic, this proposed new ban will definitely cause hundreds of thousands more livelihoods to be lost. Whatever happened to freedom of choice? The proposed ban will simply mean that more people will smoke and drink at home, something they have become quite used to of late."


  • LGA: Alfresco summer calls for smoke-free pavements – [link]
  • Northover’s comments to the Lords – [link]
  • Forest – [link]

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Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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