An equestrian centre owner has been left bemused after contacting his district council to check whether his yard will comply with the new smoking legislation in England.

Tim Lord, who runs Berkshire Riding Centre with his wife, Rosie, was informed by Bracknell Forest District Council that he needed to put no-smoking signs on every one of his stables — 30 in all — to comply with the legislation. In total, 46 signs went up around the yard ahead of Sunday’s ban (1 July).

All signs have been provided for free by the Department of Health (DoH).

Under the new legislation, district councils are responsible for enforcing the ban. Mr Lord told H&H he did not believe his council had any alternative but to issue such strict guidelines.

He reasoned: “The regulations in the Bill are very broad, which is its one major weakness. The way the legislation has been written has given councils no alternative.”

A spokesman for Bracknell Forest District Council confirmed to H&H that a sign must be displayed on every stable.

“We are simply interpreting the legislation,” she said. “The Bill states that any door that leads from the outside into an enclosed public space needs to have an A5-size sign on it.

“But we have decided it will be okay for each stable to carry a smaller sign with the no-smoking symbol on it, with the larger A5-sized signs displayed at the entrances to the yard.”

But a DoH spokesman denied that signage would be needed for individual stables.

For more advice on the smoking ban, visit www.smokefreeengland.co.uk

Read this news story in full in the current issue of Horse & Hound (28 June, ’07)