Plans are driven forward to stub out smoking in bus stations

Security officer Robert Metcalfe, council neighbourhood Warden Lyndsey Cartwright,Police Community Support Officer Steve Bell and Jane Leadbeater, from the council's transport Infrastructure team.
Security officer Robert Metcalfe, council neighbourhood Warden Lyndsey Cartwright,Police Community Support Officer Steve Bell and Jane Leadbeater, from the council's transport Infrastructure team.

Bus passengers who smoke as they wait for their service are being warned they will be put in the spotlight as part of a campaign.

A crackdown is being launched on smoking across County Durham bus stations.

Durham County Council officers have teamed up with bus companies Arriva and Go North East to send out the message that smoking will not be tolerated in the county’s stations.

The campaign, which runs until February, will see council staff visiting bus stations and issuing fines to anyone caught smoking.

Since 2007, almost all indoor public places and workplaces, including vehicles, have been required to be smoke free by law.

Smoking is also prohibited in all enclosed or 'substantially enclosed' public places and workplaces, including bus stations.

But despite the law, some people continue to smoke in and around county stations.

It follows a council survey of some of the county’s bus stations which revealed that over 71% of people surveyed have seen smoking in or around the sites.

Its public protection officers and neighbourhood wardens will be visiting stations at Durham and Peterlee, and Consett, Stanley and Bishop Auckland while the campaign is running.

They will be reminding people that it is against the law to smoke in bus stations, issuing fixed penalty notices to anyone caught doing so and providing advice and guidance on

smoke free issues.

Information posters will also be displayed in the stations.

Arriva and Go North East are supporting the campaign by spreading the message among their staff, especially those who work in county stations.

Joanne Waller, the council's head of environment, health and consumer protection, said: “Smoking in bus stations is illegal and yet some people continue to do it.

“It is a health hazard and a nuisance to other station users and we will be taking action against anyone we catch flouting the law.”