Council yet to consider park smoking ban

The Scottish Government wants to introduce a ban on smoking at play parks.
The Scottish Government wants to introduce a ban on smoking at play parks.

Scottish Borders Council has yet to decide if it will impose a smoking ban in all the public spaces, including play parks, that it owns and controls.

Such a proscriptive scenario is in the spirit, if not the letter, of a Scottish Government strategy document, entitled Creating a Tobacco-Free Generation, which was published in 2013.

“All local authorities should implement fully smoke-free policies across their properties and surrounding grounds by 2015, including setting out appropriate enforcement measures,” states the strategy.

“Opportunities to extend smoke-free policies to other outdoor areas should be included in local tobacco control plans.”

The document was cited this week by local Conservative MSP John Lamont whose party used Freedom of Information to discover that SBC and, indeed, most Scottish councils, had not erected ‘no smoking’ signs in recreation areas used by children.

“The SNP-led council has a long way to go in the space of four months if it wants to get these signs up in all 196 play parks in the region,” said Mr Lamont. “Few people these days would think it appropriate to smoke in front of playing children, even in an outdoors environment.

“Instead of setting grand targets which it fails to follow up, the Scottish Government should be coming up with something realistic to reduce the number of people smoking across the Borders.”

A spokesman for SBC said: “The council meets the legislative requirements around smoking within our buildings, but will consider the implications of this strategy regarding outdoor areas.”