Outdoor smoking ban moves ahead

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CONTROVERSIAL plans to ban smoking from Blackpool parks are set to go before councillors next week.

Blackpool’s executive committee is being recommended to approve the designation of community parks across the town as smoke-free zones.

Chris Palk-Smith

Chris Palk-Smith

If the policy is agreed, signs ordering people not to light up will be installed.

Although not legally enforceable, it is hoped the adoption of signage will give members of the public more confidence to challenge anyone who defies the policy.

Planning applications were submitted in August seeking permission for signs in 13 parks and playing fields.

Similar notices are already in place in council-owned playgrounds.

The move is aimed at preventing deaths from smoking.

Nearly 400 people in Blackpool die prematurely each year as a result of smoking-related diseases, while another 8,000 suffer from smoking related illnesses such as heart disease.

The council has already joined forces with NHS Blackpool and Blackpool Football Club to support the Altogether Now health programme.

A report to the executive says: “Although signage is not legally enforceable, designating a community park a smoke-free zone does send out a strong message in terms of the council’s commitment to the campaign and support for the NHS in relation to trying to tackle smoking.”

The aim is to reduce the number of young people who start smoking and reduce their exposure to smoke.

It is also hoped signage will lead to “increased public confidence in challenging people not complying with the policy”, as well as the “de-normalisation” of smoking in outdoor areas frequently used by children.

There would also be a reduction in the amount of litter created from discarded cigarettes.

Signs are proposed at Anchorsholme, George Bancroft, Boundary, Claremont, Crossland Road, East Pines, Highfield Road, Kingscote, and Watson Road parks, Central Drive Recreation Ground, Fishers Field, Gynn Square and Whiteholme playing fields.

But there has been outcry from opponents who branded the move heavy-handed with Chris Palk-Smith, vice-chairman of the Friends of East Pines Park in Anchorsholme, even resigning over the signs.

The proposal will go before councillors next Wednesday.

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