Councils gear up to enforce ban on smoking

ARRANGEMENTS are under way to ensure the smoking ban that comes into force in England and Wales this summer is successfully enforced across Cambridgeshire. From July 1, virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces will have to be smoke-free, and it

ARRANGEMENTS are under way to ensure the smoking ban that comes into force in England and Wales this summer is successfully enforced across Cambridgeshire.

From July 1, virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces will have to be smoke-free, and it will be the responsibility of local authorities to enforce the ban.

Both Huntingdonshire and South Cambridgeshire district councils are taking steps to make sure businesses are aware of their responsibility.

But new enforcement officers are also being recruited to ensure the ban is not flouted, and to investigate complaints about smoking in public places.

SCDC will create one and a half posts that will be funded by a grant from the Department of Health (£11,159 for 2006/07, and £55,035 for 2007/08).

Iain Green, environmental health officer at SCDC, said: "As we have seen in Scotland, the legislation is self-enforcing and we expect people to comply and for it to be enforced quite smoothly.

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"A new officer will be appointed for a six-month period and another for a year, and they will be responsible for giving advice to the public and businesses about the new legislation."

Over the next few months HDC said it will be working with the Cambridge and Peterborough Public Health Network and other partners to make sure that businesses are aware of the implications of the new legislation.

A council spokesman said HDC is currently drawing up its strategy for dealing with the new legislation and a report will be going to cabinet shortly.

The HDC website says its approach will be complemented by inspectors who will be both proactive and reactive, responding to complaints.

Anyone who lights up and breaks the ban could face £50 on the spot fines while businesses could be fined up to £2,500 for failing to provide smoke-free premises.

The aim of the legislation is to protect the health of all workers, making it against the law to smoke in pubs, clubs, bars, cafes, restaurants, and indoor shopping centres.

At work, it is intended smoking indoors will become a thing of the past, and indoor smoking rooms will no longer be allowed.

Public transport, including taxis, will be smoke-free and so too will work vehicles used by more than one person.

INFORMATION: Anyone wanting to find out more about the new legislation should visit www.smokefreeengland.co.uk or phone 0800 1691697.

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