Brighton Council – why on earth would you ban smoking on the beach?

Brighton Council is proposing to ban smoking on the beach. Brighton and Hove beaches is a long, windswept stretch, running for several miles. For most of the year, most of this large area has only a handful of people on it. Anyone smoking in this area would not only not affect others, they probably could not even be seen by them. The council’s director of public health said that ‘in certain weather conditions’ smoking on the beach could cause harm to others. One wonders what weather conditions he is thinking about. Most of the time, the prevailing weather condition is a stiff…

New PSPOs – speak out against hyperregulation

Councils’ have been announcing a swathe of new plans for new ‘public spaces protection orders’ banning activities in public spaces. These new orders show the dangers of these arbitrary, open-ended powers, with towns and cities planning bizarre new offences such as ‘loitering’, carrying out card tricks, or failing to be carrying a poop bag. In every case, these new laws target an activity that is not in itself problematic or criminal. The entirely innocent and anodyne will be punished. There will be new criminals created: the mother who smoked a cigarette in a children’s playground, the busker who played a tune on…

PSPO Consultations: Stand up against the regulation of public space

The new, dangerously open-ended ‘public spaces protection order’ powers allow councils to ban any activity which they judge to have a ‘detrimental effect’ on the ‘quality of life’ of an area. Many councils have passed or are planning to bring through these orders (see our list, here). Below are the currently open consultations for public spaces protection orders. Please take the time to respond, especially if you live in or visit the area concerned. If councils receive enough critical responses, this will make it much harder for them to bring the measure through. OXFORD CITY COUNCIL is proposing new laws restricting: sleeping…

Westminster Council – stop the prosecution of young musician Dan Wilson

A guest post by Jonny Walker, director of Keep Streets Live On Wednesday 20 August at 10am a talented young musician who has represented Great Britain in the world loop championships appeared in court in Westminster answering criminal charges of ‘illegal street trading’ and using a speaker in the street, for a 10 minute busk in Leicester Square early this year with a couple of CDs of his own music with a sign saying ‘suggested donation £5’ and giving details of his Facebook page. This was his fourth court appearance relating to this one incident of spontaneous live music and he now…

Dog owners rebelling against no-dog zones

As I said in a Spectator article, dog owners are rising up across the country in protest against no-dog zones. Here are a few of the groups taking on their council’s zero-tolerance rules… Friends of dogs in parks – Holland Park, London. A group (including vets) taking on Holland Park’s dogs-on-leads orders, which prevent dogs from getting proper exercise in this large central London park. Their petition has 3000 signatures… West Shore Dog walkers – North Wales – a well organised group opposing Conwy council’s ‘bullying and illegal’ enforcement of no-dog zones, carried out through private enforcement officers. Caroline and Tony Costa…

No to state parents in Scotland

The Scottish government has passed a bill to appoint a ‘named person’ for every child at birth, with the responsibility of ‘advising, informing or supporting the child or young person’. These parental functions will hitherto be allotted to an employee of a health board or education authority (it is specifically stated that the named person cannot be one of the child’s parents). This extraordinary Children and Young Person’s Act exemplifies a shift within child protection policy, from focusing on children ‘at risk of significant harm’, to the state assuming responsibility for ensuring the ‘wellbeing’ of every child – as if the entire…