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PUBLISHED: 15:07 15 June 2007 | UPDATED: 22:53 28 May 2010

Council tenants face smoking row walkout

Council tenants face smoking row walkout

COUNCIL house tenants who refuse to stop smoking when asked to do so by workmen carrying out repairs in their homes will risk the wrath of housing chiefs from July 1. Tenants could find workmen walking off the job if they refuse to stop smoking. Councillo

COUNCIL house tenants who refuse to stop smoking when asked to do so by workmen carrying out repairs in their homes will risk the wrath of housing chiefs from July 1.

Tenants could find workmen walking off the job if they refuse to stop smoking.

Councillor Kit Owen, the council's portfolio holder for housing, said he did not believe Fenland's 4,000 council house tenants would find the requests "unreasonable" as part of the Government's anti-smoking drive.

"The legislation is there to protect people working in shops, offices or any place of work - and council workmen are no different," he said.

"When they are at work they do not want smoke being thrust down their throats."

He said Fenland Council "has come into the 21st century with a bang" and although the council accepted people would still smoke, the new laws would be enforced.

"Our operatives are not allowed to work in a smoke-filled environment," he said. "It's really as simple as that.

"Is it right to ask operatives to go into people's homes where the tenants are smoking? I'm not sure it is."

Cllr Owen said if both the operative and the householder agreed to light up there would be no problem, but if a tenant lit up when specifically requested not to do so, the operative could refuse to carry on.

He was not sure of the consequences but the tenant would have to re-negotiate the work needed with the council.

"Things have to be judged on their merit and the circumstances appertaining at the time," said Cllr Owen.

He said councillors and staff were no longer allowed to smoke inside or near Fenland Hall, and no staff were allowed to smoke in council vehicles.

Those employees who "enjoyed a crafty smoke" could still do so in County Road, providing their absence was agreed with their line manager.

"We are not going to become like California where you can't smoke in certain streets," he said. "That would be nonsense. But things will have to change."

n Fenland's new smoking advisory officer, Jody Crane, has just started work, having joined from the Primary Care Trust, which introduced a similar restriction on health worker visits to homes last year.

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