Council workers sent to the park to smoke

Smokers who work for Test Valley Borough Council in Hampshire have been told they should go for a walk in the park if they need a nicotine fix during working hours.

A new smoking policy to be introduced on 1 August means that smoking will be banned in all council buildings but permitted in nearby Beech Hurst Park.

Smoking had previously been allowed in specially designated areas but there are now fears about smoke drifting into other rooms around the council building.

“The introduction of the policy will be supported by smoking cessation classes and smoking breaks will only be permitted if the equivalent time is made up,” said the council’s head of personnel Margaret Smith.

Public sector union Unison has objected to the proposed policy because it claims there are no smoking shelters for staff in the park.

The council’s policy follows the move by Brent Council in London at the beginning of July to ban staff smoking breaks during working hours.

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