Smoke report finds inconsistency in charter compliance

Related tags Central london pubs Public house Inn Government

A new report on smoking in pubs has revealed widespread inconsistency in their compliance with the trade's voluntary charter.Independent...

A new report on smoking in pubs has revealed widespread inconsistency in their compliance with the trade's voluntary charter.

Independent investigators carrying out spot checks on pubs across the UK found that while pubs in some areas were well ahead of the Government's target for compliance, others still had a long way to go.

The voluntary charter, agreed by trade leaders and the Department of Health in 1998, recommends the use of signage, with no-smoking areas and ventilation where possible. By next year, ministers want half of all pubs to have complied with the recommendations and 35 per cent of these to offer ventilation or separate areas.

Failure to reach this target could lead ministers to drop self-regulation in favour of tougher laws.

The survey was commissioned as part of the Publican's Don't Delay Sign Up Today campaign, aimed at improving charter compliance.

It found central London pubs were the best prepared with 40 per cent of those visited already offering ventilation or no-smoking areas.

Atherstone in Warwickshire emerged as overall leader for compliance with 55 per cent of pubs displaying signage outside stating the smoking policy at the outlet.

But while some areas were ahead of the industry's goals for 2003, others such as Belfast, Cardiff and Winchester were shown to be lagging behind.

While 33 per cent of the venues visited were displaying a sign in upmarket Winchester, not one offered ventilation or separate no-smoking areas.

The snapshot also revealed some disparity in charter take-up throughout pub estates.

In some areas pubs owned by leading pub operators were charter compliant, but in others venues were still lacking. Most consistent among those surveyed were Enterprise Inns, with 83 per cent of its pubs compliant, and Laurel Pub Partnerships which showed 100 per cent compliance in the towns surveyed.

Independent pubs also demonstrated a high degree of compliance with 36 per cent displaying a sign and 14 per cent offering separate areas.

Nick Bish, chairman of the trade's Charter Group and chief executive of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, said: "We must ensure that we meet the targets that we agreed with the Government otherwise the consequences could be disastrous. Groups need to act on this issue now by sending out their regional managers to physically sign up venues."

Oliver Griffiths from the Atmosphere Improves Results (AIR) initiative said: "The message is: if they aren't signed up they don't count."

For more information or to order charter signs call AIR on 020 7482 0620.

Related topics Legislation

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