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Smoking problems and noise

How to manage smoking at your premises

Imagine this scenario: Since the introduction of the Smoking Ban you have been very careful to make sure that nobody smokes within your premises. All ashtrays were removed, all staff familiarised with your written Smoking Policy and clear signage displayed around the premises. You’ve only had a couple of “misunderstandings” in the early days when later on in the evening a customer “forgot” that they could not light up inside.

The pavement outside your premises has become a very busy place. You do not have a beer garden or enclosed court yard where your smokers can be accommodated. You do not particularly like the congregations of people outside your front door but there does not seem to be a viable alternative. More worrying, you are receiving an increasing number of complaints from residents about the noise generated by these people and indeed smoke entering the residents houses through open windows.

Would you know what to do?

Burying your head in the sand is simply not an option. Residents can make your life very difficult by applying for a review of your licence in their own right which could result in additional conditions being placed on the licence and your hours on the licence be curtailed.

They may also decide to complain to Environmental Health who are equally able to apply for a review of your licence. In addition they can take action under the Environmental Protection Act either as a result of noise nuisance or smoke nuisance and serve an Abatement Notice upon you. This requires cessation of the nuisance and breach of the notice could lead to prosecution through the Magistrates’ Court and an unlimited fine for each breach.

Once again, legal advice at the outset is essential. Negotiations should be entered into and any notice appealed. If you are invited to an interview under caution do not go there without a Solicitor. What you say in the interview may well be used as evidence against you later on in Court proceedings.

Good high quality legal advice is essential.

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