Ben HaywardJuly 12th

Smoking on streets outside pubs, bars and cafes could be banned under new emergency legislation.

If the law is passed, establishments would be required to ban outdoor smoking in return for gaining permission to serve 'pavement drinks’ in measures designed to help the hospitality industry recover from lockdown. 

As the government relaxes some licensing laws, it has been warned that attempts to create a continental-style al fresco ‘cafe culture’ over the summer must not be at the expense of public health.


Liberal Democrat Baroness Northover said: "Reducing smoking in public places has been hugely important for improving public health in the UK. 

“However, with pavement licences being introduced to help support our hospitality industry, the Government should not allow this to become an excuse for increasing smoking in public places.

"More and more people are spending time with friends, family and loved ones outside. We must ensure that these new pavement areas can be enjoyed by all.”

The former Tory Cabinet minister Lord Young said he was worried about the impact of outdoors smoking on staff, saying: “If you have licensed drinking on the pavements, employees will have to come out to collect glasses and will be in a smoking environment.”


Speaking to the i, a spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said that decisions on licences would be made by local councils.

"We are helping our pubs, cafés and restaurants return to work safely by making it quicker, easier and cheaper for them to set up outdoor seating and street stalls to serve food and drink,” they said.

"Councils will be able to set local conditions for licences. As set out in supporting guidance, councils should consider public health when setting these conditions.”

Deborah Arnott, the chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health, said: “Making smoke-free status a condition for all pavement licences sets a level playing field for business and the public, and has strong public support, which will make it easy to enforce.”

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