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FACT SHEET; SMOKING SHELTERS


From 1st July 2007 it will be against the law to smoke in virtually all public places and workplaces. Indoor smoking rooms will no longer be permitted. There is no legal requirement for you to provide designated external areas for smoking or outdoor smoking shelters for your staff. However, if you are intending to provide a smoking shelter, you will need to ensure that it complies with the law in that it is not enclosed or substantially enclosed. A smoking shelter will be considered enclosed if it has a ceiling or roof, and except for doors, windows and passageways, is wholly enclosed, either on a permanent or temporary basis. A smoking shelter will be considered to be substantially enclosed if it has a ceiling or roof, but there are openings in the walls that are less than half of the total area of walls (walls can include other structures which serve the purpose of walls and constitute the perimeter of the premises). When determining the area of an opening, no account can be taken of openings in which doors, windows or other fittings can be opened or shut. A roof includes any fixed or movable structure or device that is capable of covering all or part of a premises - this would include retractable canvas awnings. Therefore if you intend to provide a smoking shelter you must ensure that it is at least 50% open sided, not including any windows or doors. Here are some examples of shelters that would comply with the regulations;

A shelter with the roof extending out more than twice the width of the sidewalls, therefore more than 50% open.

A lean to shelter

A curved shelter with an open area greater than 50% Do not site a smoking shelter too close to a wall or existing structure as this may affect proper air flow through the shelter. If nearby walls are closer than 1.5m to the shelter they may also be considered as serving the purpose of walls to the shelter and will count towards the 50% wall area in the calculation to determine whether the shelter is substantially enclosed. Smoking shelters should not be sited in such a way as to allow second hand smoke to drift into smoke free areas or premises. PLANNING PERMISSION Smoking shelters are likely to materially affect the external appearance of your building and will be deemed to be operational development. It is therefore likely that you will need planning permission. If your building is listed you may need additional consent. Even temporary structures can require planning permission. The main determining factors are the size of the shelter and the degree of permanence. For example; a small parasol which is taken indoors when it is not in use is unlikely to need planning permission whereas a large permanently fixed canopy would. You are therefore advised to contact the Development Control service at Walsall Council in writing and include details and a sketch of where you propose to site your smoking shelter, prior to submitting a planning application. Planning applications can take up to 8 weeks tp determine and so you will need to build this period into your programme. 2

For further information about smoking shelters and planning permission please contact Walsalls Planning Team on 01922 652452. Note: You may also need to get building control consent before you start work on your smoking shelter. You should therefore contact Walsall Councils Building Control Services on 01922 652408/652428. OTHER CONSIDERATIONS Litter The use of outdoor areas or smoking shelters may result in increased littering. You should therefore; Noise Commercial premises, particularly those open or working early in the morning or late at night, will need to consider the potential noise impact on nearby properties of patrons or employees congregating outside to smoke. Health and Safety You should also consider the health and safety implications of the use of outdoor areas and smoking shelters including; Ensuring that there is safe access and exit to and from your smoking shelter/outdoor area You must ensure that you have agreed fire arrangements that cover the use of the smoking shelter or outdoor area. Provide external bins, ash trays or stubbing bins for cigarette ends and empty them regularly, Sweep up any cigarette ends and other litter regularly, Make your staff aware that it is a legal offence to drop litter and ask them to use the bins provided.

Further information on the new smoke free legislation and the use of smoking shelters can be obtained from the Public Protection Team at Walsall Council on 01922 652 210 or smokefree@walsall.gov.uk. More information on complying with the Smoke Free law can be found on the Smoke Free England website at www.smokefreeengland.co.uk. For further information on the smokefree law go to www.walsall.gov.uk and follow the smokefree link. Or telephone the Smokefree Team at Walsall MBC on 01922 652210

Other fact sheets in this series include: Smokefree vehicles Signage Smokefree Residential Homes and Hospices Smokefree Policies Smokefree Advice for Licensed Premises