End Of The Line For Smoking On The Railways04/06/2007
Smoking at stations will become a thing of the past on Britain’s railways from Sunday 1 July when the government’s legislation prohibiting smoking in public places in England comes into effect. This brings the railways in England into line with the similar ‘smoke-free’ legislation in Scotland and Wales.
From 6am on Sunday 1 July, smoking will be prohibited on all station concourses, ticket halls, on platforms – covered and uncovered - and footbridges and subways at station premises. Also retail and food outlets will be covered. This will affect all 1,900 railway stations in England and also applies to railway offices - station offices, canteens and workplace areas which are covered by the legislation. However, smoking will still be permitted on most station forecourts and in (uncovered) station car parks.
George Muir, Director General of ATOC, said: “The new law will lead to a cleaner smoke-free environment at all of Britain’s 2,500 stations. Smoking has been prohibited on trains for some years, and the railways are now playing their part to comply with smoke-free legislation that has been broadly welcomed in Scotland and Wales.”
Robin Gisby, Network Rail’s Director of Operations and Customer Service said: “The era of smoky stations is coming to an end. Passengers will be able to enjoy smoke-free concourses and platforms just as they have enjoyed smoke-free trains. This will support all the work that Network Rail and the train operators are doing to improve the passenger experience at stations all over the country.”
A smoke-free policy has been in place on all train services across Britain from some years and, due to fire regulations, at some sub-surface stations in England such as Birmingham New Street and London Liverpool Street.
The railway is now preparing for the introduction of the legislation in July with leaflets, posters and announcements alerting passengers at stations and on trains.
While the legislation affects covered or partially-covered premises, the railways are using existing railway bye-laws to extend the smoke-free environment to all uncovered platforms and footbridges for reasons of practicality and simplicity.
The public strongly supports the smoke-free policy as it affects railway stations. Results from a recent Omnibus survey of more than 1,000 people conducted for the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) shows 75% of people support the end of smoking at railway stations with only 21% against.
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