A New York-style smoking ban will be brought in at children’s play areas in one of London’s biggest parks.
Today, the playground, tomorrow the whole park?
And then, Stony Stratford, here we come?
The borough of Hackney, which suffers some of the capital’s worst lung cancer rates, said it decided to introduce the measure at Clissold Park to protect children’s health.
If the pilot is successful, the Labour-run borough could roll out the ban to other play areas in its 62 parks.
And how do they plan to measure this success, given that they admit they can’t actually enforce it, in law?
But Hackney is powerless to enforce an outdoor ban.
Instead it will be “self-policing”, relying on park wardens and parents challenging smokers.
Challenging them, and then what? What are they going to do, if smokers point out that their ban is unenforceable?
Caroline Millar, chairwoman of Clissold Park User Group, said: “With so many children and families coming for fresh air and exercise, it is good to know the air really will be fresh and there will be no more cigarette butts in the sandpit.”
Yes, the air will still stink of diesel from the vehicles and the sandpit will be full of dog and fox crap and rat urine, but hey, we can all pretend it’s sparkling fresh as a household cleaner advert, since those awful smokers are (theoretically) banished…
The council denied plans to extend the measure to areas not used by children.
Of course they did.
Helen Maltby, 38, a teacher, said: “If the ban is just in children’s areas, then I think it is a good idea. I’m not sure you can ban people from smoking everywhere in the park, but in children’s areas it certainly makes sense. The total smoking ban in New York parks does seem quite harsh.”
Yes, it makes perfect sense, because we have no weather in this country, and smoke outside the play area will never, ever drift in. Similarly, nor will other things (like the aforementioned diesel fumes).
Claire McClafferty, 41, a full-time mother, said: “Children should not be exposed to adults who smoke. I used to work for a park department in Islington and we were very concerned with the impact smoking had. We put up signs requesting people not to smoke but a ban would enforce this properly.”
They’ve already pointed out they have no power to enforce the ban. Did you not understand that bit?