St Helier decides against ban on al fresco smoking

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Although several members of the committee, including the Dean of Jersey, the Very Rev Mike Keirle, said they were against smoking in public places, there was consensus that further research should be undertaken.

The St Helier Roads Committee launched a consultation in October seeking Islanders’ views about whether they believe al fresco areas licensed under a permit from the parish should be made smoke-free.

Mr Keirle said yesterday: ‘We need to hear if there will be businesses that would gain from this [ban] and while I don’t go to places where smoking is permitted I am not against a business that wants to have a smoking area.’

Silvio Alves, director of technical and environmental services for the parish, told the meeting, held in the Town Hall, that 69 email comments were received with 40 supporting a ban, 27 against and two non-committal.

Responses on the parish Facebook page went the other way with 23 against and ten giving no opinion either way.

According to the 2013 Jersey Annual Social Survey, 54 per cent of all respondents said they would like smoking to be stopped outside pubs and restaurants.

Likewise, 57 per cent of respondents to a public consultation in February 2014 also believed there should be a smoking ban in al fresco areas.

Christine Oxford, tenanted pubs managing director for the Channel Islands largest pub chain, Liberation Group, made the case for further consultation.

She said: ‘If St Helier puts this ban in place this will in turn give businesses in other parishes an advantage. St Helier has the most public houses, it attracts the most visitors and we want to give people the choice of smoking areas.’

There was discussion over whether St Helier should take the lead in banning smoking in al fresco areas or whether it was the responsibility of the Health Minister to take a proposition to the States from Members to agree on an Islandwide ban.

Committee member Geraint Jennings said: ‘If we leave this to the States, we could be waiting forever.’

The decision in favour of further consultation was taken without clarifying exactly how the parish would consult premises where smoking was allowed outside, but it was suggested it could be part of the process when businesses renewed their annual al fresco licences.

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