Smoking could be banned outside pubs and cafes in England if councils get their way.
The Local Government Association is calling for the ban.
It represents councils across England.
Government clash over smoking
Councils want the measure introduced to make pubs and cafes more family friendly.
They think this would help give venues a boost as they re-open following lockdown.
The LGA wants an amendment to the business and planning bill.
It would make all pavement licences issued by councils subject to the condition that they are smoke-free places.
People who want to avoid breathing in second-hand smoke can normally stay inside.
But the coronavirus outbreak means indoor space is restricted.
But central government is not convinced.
The government argues that the emergency legislation should not be used as “a backdoor route” to try to ban smoking outdoors.
Al-fresco summer for all
Councils want the powers so they can also protect shops next to pubs from being inundated with cigarette smoke.
Paulette Hamilton, the vice-chair of the LGA’s community wellbeing board, said councils should have the powers to extend smoke-free areas to include pavements.
She said everyone could enjoy the al-fresco summer.
Paulette added: “Pavement licensing should not be a catalyst to increase smoking in public places.”
That’s due to the greater risk of ingesting second-hand smoke.
The LGA said the measure would also contribute to the government’s own ambitions.
That includes England becoming a smoke-free nation by 2030.
The business and planning bill is due to have its third reading in the House of Lords on Monday.
It aims to fast-track the process by which cafes, pubs and restaurants in England can get temporary permission to put chairs and tables outside.
This means they can serve as many people as possible in a socially distanced way.
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