Smoking outside pubs and restaurants could be banned in an effort to have more customers eating and drinking al fresca, it has been reported.
The government is about to face demands from peers to ban outdoor smoking in exchange for permission to serve "pavement drinks".
The i newspaper reported that a cross-party group of peers are set to table an amendment to emergency legislation aimed at boosting the hospitality industry.
The lords hope the amendment will temporarily relax licensing laws to encourage al fresco eating and drinking.
That amendment will seek to ensure pavement licences are only granted subject to the condition that smoking is banned.
Liberal Democrat Baroness Northover told the newspaper she held concerns over the potential for the move to encourage public smoking.
"Reducing smoking in public places has been hugely important for improving public health in the UK,” she said.
“However, with pavement licences being introduced to help support our hospitality industry, the government should not allow this to become an excuse for increasing smoking in public places.
"More and more people are spending time with friends, family and loved ones outside. We must ensure that these new pavement areas can be enjoyed by all."
Anti-smoking campaigners have backed the amendment, with particular concerns held over the potential for pavement licences to put people at greater risk of ingesting second-hand smoke.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government told the paper: "We are helping our pubs, cafes and restaurants return to work safely by making it quicker, easier and cheaper for them to set up outdoor seating and street stalls to serve food and drink.
"Councils will be able to set local conditions for licences. As set out in supporting guidance, councils should consider public health when setting these conditions."
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