Children’s playgrounds to become smoke free zones under council plans

Children's play area at Manor Heath Park, Halifax
Children's play area at Manor Heath Park, Halifax

Children’s playgrounds across Calderdale could become a smoke free zones by March if council chiefs approve plans.

Calderdale Council is asking for people’s views on whether children’s playgrounds should be smoke free, with public consultation running for the next week.

If adopted, the ban could be in place as soon as March with the aim of deterring smoking in children’s playgrounds - areas where children and young people spend time.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health, Wellbeing and Engagement, Councillor Simon Young, said: “Children and young people deserve to be protected from the influence and dangers of second hand smoke and children’s playgrounds are key areas, as this is where many spend their time.

“The damaging effects of second hand smoking, especially on children and young people is no secret nowadays. The harmful damage to their bodies as well as the influence on children and young people taking up smoking is everyone’s problem. Our vision for Calderdale is a place where no smoking is the norm.

“Other councils, including Kirklees, Leeds and Sheffield already have this ban in place. We’re proposing to follow this here, so we can influence children and young people more positively and help decrease cigarette litter.”

Previous social media engagement with residents in September 2015 received a range of views on whether the voluntary ban should be put in place, with overall support for the proposal.

Research carried out in Calderdale parks, children’s centres, parent and toddler groups and primary schools found that 97% of respondents said they would support encouraging people not to smoke in children’s play areas and 78% said they would be more likely to visit smoke free play areas.

This consultation hopes to get the views of a wider cross section of people, and everyone is encouraged to have their say, whatever their age, wherever they live, whether they have children or not and whether they’re a smoker or not.

The short survey takes around 5 minutes to complete, is live at http://www.calderdale.gov.uk/council/consultation/no-smoke-playgrounds/ and runs until Sunday 31 January 2016.