The aim of the smoking law is to protect workers and the general public from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.
The legislation effectively prohibits smoking in enclosed public spaces, and it is therefore anticipated that a large number of businesses will be submitting planning applications for the erection of smoking shelters. However, businesses need to understand the law in order to ensure that the proposed structures are compliant and can actually be used as smoking shelters.
What the law says
The Smoke Free Premises etc. (Wales) Regulations 2007 define 'enclosed premises' as those which have a ceiling or roof (whether fixed or moveable) and, except for doors, windows and passageways, they are wholly enclosed either permanently or temporarily.
Premises that are 'substantially enclosed' are defined as those which have a ceiling or roof and where walls around the structure consist of more than 50%. However, no account is to be taken of openings in which there are doors, windows or other fittings which can be opened or closed. Basically, we are taking this to mean that any room or structure that has a roof/ceiling and more than half of the sides are wall will be covered by this legislation.
Whatever you choose as a smoking shelter, you will probably need to get planning permission if you choose a fixed structure.
Licensed premises will need to ensure that their proposals comply with their license or apply to amend their license as appropriate. Care should be taken when choosing the position for the smoking shelter, as the prevention of nuisance is an important issue under the Licensing Act 2003.
If the only place your customers can smoke is the pavement, you will need to speak to the Highways department before constructing any shelter.
Choosing a smoking shelter
Many businesses are looking at pergolas, which are ideal as they are open on all sides. Attaching these to a wall or covering in on one or two sides will help protect those using the shelter from the weather.
Bus shelter type structures are now being sold as smoking shelters, but these need to be looked at carefully. Most of these have 4 walls, and could therefore count as enclosed even though they have wide doorway areas.
Canopies and umbrellas are suitable as they do not have walls, and can be put away when not in use. Permanently fixed umbrellas may need planning permission, and advice should be sought from the planning department.
Complying with the guidelines in this document does not necessarily mean that planning or licensing permission would be given, so it is best to ask the planning and licensing departments for advice. To find out whether you will need planning permission, please contact the planning department on 01545 572105, Ceredigion County Council, Penmorfa, Aberaeron, Ceredigion SA46 0PA.
Wherever you site the shelter, you will need to ensure that those using the shelter will not cause a nuisance to local residents. For pubs and clubs this is particularly important, as customers using the shelter could become rowdy and disruptive.
We recommend that the shelter is located where it is not accessible from the road, to prevent it from becoming a meeting place for groups of youths etc.
If the shelter is on or near the road, or indeed if that is where your customers or staff congregates as there is nowhere else to smoke, you will need to make sure that litter is collected and disposed of in a suitable way.
Example of compliant smoking shelter
Smoke - free legislation (Private Vehicles) Regulations 2015
The Smoke-free (Exemptions and Vehicles) Regulations 2007 have been amended. As of October 1st 2015 it will be illegal to smoke in an enclosed private vehicle if someone under the age of 18 is present. For more information please visit: 'Smoking in Cars - the Law has Changed'.