FACT SHEET; SMOKING SHELTERS
From 1st July 2007 it will be against the law to smoke in virtually all public
places and workplaces. Indoor smoking rooms will no longer be permitted.
There is no legal requirement for you to provide designated external areas for
smoking or outdoor smoking shelters for your staff. However, if you are
intending to provide a smoking shelter, you will need to ensure that it complies
with the law in that it is not “enclosed” or “substantially enclosed”.
A smoking shelter will be considered „enclosed‟ if it has a ceiling or roof, and
except for doors, windows and passageways, is wholly enclosed, either on a
permanent or temporary basis.
A smoking shelter will be considered to be „substantially enclosed‟ if it has a
ceiling or roof, but there are openings in the walls that are less than half of the
total area of walls (“walls” can include other structures which serve the
purpose of walls and constitute the perimeter of the premises). When
determining the area of an opening, no account can be taken of openings in
which doors, windows or other fittings can be opened or shut.
A roof includes any fixed or movable structure or device that is capable of
covering all or part of a premises - this would include retractable canvas
Therefore if you intend to provide a smoking shelter you must ensure that it is
at least 50% open sided, not including any windows or doors. Here are some
examples of shelters that would comply with the regulations;
A shelter with the roof extending out more than twice the width of the
sidewalls, therefore more than 50% open.
A lean to shelter
A curved shelter with an open area greater than 50%
Do not site a smoking shelter too close to a wall or existing structure as this
may affect proper air flow through the shelter. If nearby walls are closer than
1.5m to the shelter they may also be considered as serving the purpose of
walls to the shelter and will count towards the 50% wall area in the calculation
to determine whether the shelter is „substantially enclosed‟.
Smoking shelters should not be sited in such a way as to allow second hand
smoke to drift into smoke free areas or premises.
Smoking shelters are likely to materially affect the external appearance of
your building and will be deemed to be operational development. It is
therefore likely that you will need planning permission. If your building is listed
you may need additional consent.
Even temporary structures can require planning permission. The main
determining factors are the size of the shelter and the degree of permanence.
For example; a small parasol which is taken indoors when it is not in use is
unlikely to need planning permission whereas a large permanently fixed
You are therefore advised to contact the Development Control service at
Walsall Council in writing and include details and a sketch of where you
propose to site your smoking shelter, prior to submitting a planning
application. Planning applications can take up to 8 weeks tp determine and so
you will need to build this period into your programme.
For further information about smoking shelters and planning permission
please contact Walsall‟s Planning Team on 01922 652452.
Note: You may also need to get building control consent before you start work
on your smoking shelter. You should therefore contact Walsall Council‟s
Building Control Services on 01922 652408/652428.
The use of outdoor areas or smoking shelters may result in increased littering.
You should therefore;
Provide external bins, ash trays or stubbing bins for cigarette ends and
empty them regularly,
Sweep up any cigarette ends and other litter regularly,
Make your staff aware that it is a legal offence to drop litter and ask
them to use the bins provided.
Commercial premises, particularly those open or working early in the morning
or late at night, will need to consider the potential noise impact on nearby
properties of patrons or employees congregating outside to smoke.
Health and Safety
You should also consider the health and safety implications of the use of
outdoor areas and smoking shelters including;
Ensuring that there is safe access and exit to and from your smoking
You must ensure that you have agreed fire arrangements that cover
the use of the smoking shelter or outdoor area.
Further information on the new smoke free legislation and the use of smoking
shelters can be obtained from the Public Protection Team at Walsall Council
on 01922 652 210 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on complying with the Smoke Free law can be found on the
Smoke Free England website at www.smokefreeengland.co.uk.
For further information on the smokefree law go to www.walsall.gov.uk
and follow the “smokefree” link.
Or telephone the Smokefree Team at Walsall MBC on 01922 652210
Other fact sheets in this series include:
Smokefree Residential Homes and Hospices
Smokefree Advice for Licensed Premises