Coaches parking in Canterbury have been getting a rude awakening from council wardens, who have been issuing £200 fines for not displaying ‘No Smoking’ signs.
By law, all coaches and buses need to have the ‘No smoking’ signs displayed where all passengers will see them – typically as window or seat stickers. Canterbury City Council has taken the 2006 law to heart, even issuing the £200 fine to a non-smoking van driver last year.
The fine is reduced to £150 if paid promptly, but coach operators are being warned that the council is within its rights to issue the fines, and adding stickers to coach windows is relatively cheap.
“Smoking legislation is something we have responsibility for enforcing, and following the recent recruitment of several new enforcement officers, we have been able to step up this work,” said a spokesman for Canterbury City Council. “Canterbury is popular with coaches and our officers are incorporating inspections into their work.
“Naturally, after a period of time where there has been less enforcement, a flurry of activity can raise eyebrows, but we would now expect to see word spreading across the industry that it’s an issue we take seriously.
“The inspections involve our officers walking the entire length of the vehicle, inside and out, and checking to ensure compliance.”
Nonethless, the policy has raised a few hackles: “WARNING! all coach companies!” tweeted Surrey-based Banstead Coaches. “Canterbury are fining drivers if they don’t have a “no smoking” sign!! REALLY!”
Chalkwell Coaches of Kent also had coaches inspected, said Managing Director Roland Eglinton: “Ours were all OK, but I know that a number of operators have been caught.”
This was confirmed by Andy Warrender, Coaching Manager for the Confederation of Passenger Transport, who said he was aware of around £3,000 being paid out in fines by CPT members: “We have issued numerous reminders in our member bulletins but we hear of further fines being issued on a daily basis.
“There’s no specified size of sign; as long as it meets the recognised pictogram of a red circle enclosing a burning cigarette with a red line through it, and is visible to all aboard, it meets the requirements.”
Among other councils known to enforce this law is Haringey in London.