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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 168

Date:- 18 September 2004

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Policy change solution to outright smoking ban in Liverpool bars 

ONE of the North West's leading pub groups, Burtonwood, is reconsidering its smoking policies in the city following the results of Liverpool's biggest ever pub ballot. The ballot was carried out in premises across the city, canvassing the opinions of pub workers and customers regarding their preferences on smoking policy. 

Both groups voted overwhelmingly in support of policy change rather than an outright smoking ban. Of those surveyed, only 19 per cent of pub staff said they wanted smoking banned at their place of work with 43 per cent preferring a ban at the bar.

Customers also favour choice with less than a third voting for smoking to be banned everywhere. However, 62 per cent favoured a ban in eating areas and one fifth favoured a ban at the bar. 

The ballot has directly affected policy changes at various pubs in Liverpool. The Red Lion is currently undergoing refurbishment, and as a result of the ballot they will be designating part of their new lounge area for non-smokers. 

Manager Lynn Siadankay commented:- "When our lounge opens, we will certainly be creating a non-smoking area. Our non-smoking customers are important to us and it seems only fair for us to provide a smoke-free environment for them to enjoy."

Commenting on the results, Frank Kite of Burtonwood said:- "This ballot has enabled us, for the first time, to get a clear view of what our staff and customers in Liverpool think regarding the smoking policies. We are keen that such policies remain a voluntary decision for the licensed trade and as such we take the results of this poll extremely seriously.

The ballots took place during June 2004 and over 350 responses were received from customers and staff in 7 pubs and bars.

In addition to these ballots, hundreds of self completion kits were also provided to independent establishments in the area to enable a review on smoking policies. 

Merseyside's entrepreneurial economy need's a woman's touch

MORE than 120 of Merseyside's business community and policy makers will met at the Radisson SAS Hotel, Liverpool in the early morning of September at 17 for the launch of The Mersey Partnership's ground-breaking independent research report The Gender Agenda: Women in the Merseyside Economy.

Sponsored by the Bank of Scotland, the University of Liverpool and ITV Granada this unique report is the first independent study by a UK City Region into the contribution women make to its economy.

The report will contribute to the development of economic policy on Merseyside and considers: constraints on the growth of Merseyside's economy; how Merseyside is acting to encourage female entrepreneurs and causes and approaches towards tackling economic inactivity.

Thomas O'Brien, Chief Executive of The Mersey Partnership will present the key findings from The Gender Agenda: Women in the Merseyside Economy. 

 Local authorities agree shared approach to avoid up to £70 million in fines

MERSEYSIDE Waste Disposal Authority has agreed in principle to create a 25 year strategy to combat the region's rising waste mountain.

At its meeting today the Waste Disposal Authority, which consists of councillors from each of Merseyside's five local authorities, agreed to invest in the strategy in order to conform to new government legislation and avoid potential increases in the cost of waste disposal of millions of pounds.

The government has set limits on the amount of biodegradable waste each local authority can now dispose of in landfill sites. Any Council exceeding their limit must either buy spare landfill tax permits from other authorities or pay stringent fines per tonne of waste.

If Merseyside does nothing to reduce the landfill of its waste by 2009/10, an additional £12 million annually could be required to pay for its disposal.

Cllr John Fletcher, Chairman of MWDA, said:- "It was agreed at the meeting that a comprehensive waste strategy is required in order to comply with new government legislation. The fines that the government will impose on Merseyside and the rest of the UK are so severe that a do nothing' approach is not an option."

It is estimated that to implement a strategy, recycle more waste and keep waste out of landfill would cost around £42 million per year by 2014, but fines could reach up to £70 million by the end of the decade. 

The waste strategy will be complete by April 2005 and will include a programme of public consultation to gather views from Merseyside residents.

Merseyside succeeded in recycling 10 percent of its waste by April this year, diverting 80,000 tonnes from landfill and just missing its government target of 12 percent. 

Next April the government will reduce Merseyside's landfill allowance each year. A £200 per tonne fine will be payable on any excess unless the Authority is able to buy allowances from parts of the country that have 'spare' capacity. 

In addition to this, waste is increasing at three percent per year and the government is also increasing landfill tax by £3 per tonne per year.

MWDA is already investing in flagship recycling facilities at Bidston and Sefton. The Bidston project alone is anticipated to divert 30,000 tonnes of biodegradable waste per year from landfill when it opens in 2006 through recycling and composting.

The authority has also invested £350,000 of government funding, awarded in December 2003, to support a diverse range of projects that promote the importance of recycling on Merseyside. 
These include a targeted marketing campaign, funding for a new household waste recycling centre for the South Sefton area and the production of a CD promoting the use of re-usable nappies.

Carl Beer, Director of MWDA, comments:- "We must improve on the recycling services provided, by expanding kerbside programmes and educating the community to foster a recycling culture. Otherwise the cost of waste disposal will hit their pockets due to new government legislation. We must also invest in new waste facilities which recycle and recover value from waste."

There is an overwhelming justification for reducing landfill. It could cost around £40 million over the next ten years to implement the strategy, but it will be more sustainable and cost effective in the long term. This is preferable to the 'do nothing' approach of continuing to landfill, which could cost up to £70 million a year more by 2009/10 and rising year on year, as well as having a serious impact on the environment."

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