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Barnsley Council in Britain to Ban Smoking Outside Pubs

Council Sparks Fury as it Becomes First in Britain to Ban Smoking Outside Pubs

Last updated at 10:34am on 22nd February 2008

Barnsley Council want to ban people smoking in the street outside pubs and cafes

The first town in Britain looks set to ban smoking outside pubs and cafes but furious landlords have vowed to fight the extreme council plans. Bar and cafe owners have said they are prepared to go to court if the local authority’s decision to ban smoking on pavements outside their businesses goes ahead.

By April, smokers in Barnsley, South Yorkshire may find there are few places where they can light up.

Under the new regulations smoking will only be allowed outside in private beer gardens.

The move has caused uproar among the town’s licensees who have seen trade dwindle since the indoor smoking ban came into force. Publican Paul McNicholas, chairman of the town centre Pubwatch scheme said: “I feel so strongly about this I would be prepared to go to court. “There is no other place in the country even contemplating it. It would be difficult to enforce.” Mr McNicholas has spent £9,000 on awnings, tables and heaters so customers can sit outside his Irish pub and enjoy a pint and a cigarette. He said: “Having the outside area has compensated me and evened things out since the smoking ban.

These new guidelines could be the difference between bars surviving and not.” Walkabout bar manager Greg Harding said: “I think it is ridiculous.” He has a street drinking area in front of the town-centre premises and was offered the lease of the land by Barnsley Council. He said: “It gets people out front and brings a bit of colour to the town. This rule would make it untenable for us to continue taking this space from the council.”

Barnsley Council’s environment department came up with the scheme in a document entitled “Guidelines for street cafes” in Barnsley town centre. The new rule states: “As of April 1 the licensed cafe area will be a no-smoking area.

“It will be the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that customers are reminded of this. “If it is noted that on three separate occasions customers are witnessed to be smoking, then the licence will be revoked.”

Councillor Roy Miller, Barnsley’s environment committee head said consultations were still taking place and input would be welcomed from licensees. He said: “We are awaiting the responses and I am having a meeting with several landlords.”

The move has been attacked by the pro-smoking organisation FOREST which says the scheme is “dubious, difficult to enforce and a potential death knell for businesses without space for a beer garden.” Director Simon Clarke said: “It is the first time we have heard of such a plan anywhere in the country. “If the council wants smokers off the streets it would be more productive to use resources for smoking rooms. “If this is brought in I will come to Barnsley myself and light up even though I don’t smoke.”

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