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back to article EU to ban the patio heaters that ate the planet. Not.

An overwhelming majority of EU MPs this week voted for a ban on patio heaters, calling on the European Commission to set a timetable for the withdrawal from the market of these and other "very energy-inefficient items of equipment." But despite what you might read in the popular prints, there are just a few obstacles standing in …

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Stop

Inefficient Fridges.

Let's see <quick trawl on the interweb thingy>. A nasty old fridge uses about 500kWh per annum. A nice, new, "A+" fridge chews up about 200kWh, giving a saving of 300. Actually a pretty impressive performance improvement.

At about 9p per kWh, that's a saving of 27 quid, not 100 to 200. 2/10, please try harder. Also not so impressive now.

All part of the smoke 'n mirrors, I'm afraid. The saving in cash is pretty much irrelevant as your new fridge will be well up the list of highly-polluting dinosaurs by the time it's paid for itself. Likewise, the energy saving is so small that it's more than offset environmentally by the act of disposing of the old fridge (a pretty nasty thing in itself) and making a new one.

Conclusion: The whole idea here is to sell fridges, not to save the planet and the Anon Cow above works in sales for Currys.

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About time.

Heating up the outdoors never did seem like a particularly smart thing to do. And to the whingeing smokers here - you really should give up, you know. You're not doing yourselves any favours (- although you are helping the Chancellor fill his coffers, which is a good thing, I grant you).

Put a nice warm jumper on instead. And give the fags up. You'll feel better, honestly.

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Unhappy

Killjoys...

On Saturday evening my wife was due home about 7pm. I made a nice dinner (4 pans on the gas hob, for potatoes, veggies, etc.) and lit the fire. Big crackly logs sending lots of heat straight up the chimney. We dined by candlelight, and afterwards watched a film with the DVD/TV/HiFi all running. A very pleasant, cozy, evening.

Now, I'm sure it would have been much more energy efficient to have microwaved a pizza, put on an extra jumper, and read a book by the light of a compact fluorescent lamp, but...

I'm fine with saving the planet, but I for one want to save it so I can *enjoy* it.

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I got bored...

...reading all these comments, so I'll just add my 2p's worth, even though it's probably already been said.

The government CAUSED a HUGE increase in this problem with the smoking ban. I quite agree that if you are cold go inside, where you can heat an insulated space efficiently. However, smokers now do not have that choice, they are forced to go out in the cold.

And they made it 10x worse by saying that smoking shelters must be at least 50% open. WHY?!? If it is a smoking shelter, then surely there will only be smokers inside, or at least the vast majority. My local pub set up a tent outside for people to smoke in. It was quite smokey, by at least it was warm, and fairly efficient to heat (compared to open air or a 50% open structure). It was also sheltered from wind and rain. Guess what happened? Someone from accross the road (probably a non-smoker with a stick up their arse) shopped the landlord and he got whacked with a fine and had to take it down, for trying to stop the pub from closing (the vast majority of his customers smoke, and his revenue has plumeted since the ban).

What would have been wrong with regulations on separated areas, with good ventilation? As in, go back to the idea of a tap room. You wanna smoke, go in the tap room, where theres plenty of ventilation and mostly smokers. You dont want to smoke go to another room.

The nanny state is going mad here. I am actualy starting to believe they WANT to put all local and small pubs out of business. The ones where the honest, working-class folks go for a quiet pint on a night, not the bars that see teenagers get sloshed, throw up and start fights every night.

The government need a kick up the arse. I think we copuld actualy do with a rebellion. WHOS WITH ME?!?!

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Wasteful and pointless?

If MPs are going to ban things that are wasteful and pointless then might I suggest expanding the list to include

Steve McClaren

Graham Norton

The FA

Newcastle Utd

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Bonfire instead

Seriously, I'll scrap the patio heater and start a small fire instead - that'll be much more energy efficient right?!

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Space Heaters for freezing kiddies

I see from the comments above that some of you think these space heaters at Pubs are a good thing because they make it nicer for the children left outside while they get on with their drinking.

Cor , you poms need a lesson or two on caring for your children (poor little sods).

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@Peter, Andrew Heenan and Steve Browne

Well said; the anti-smoking lobby (whose membership'd probably cause overlapping circles on a Venn diagram with the enviro-pillocks promulgating this ban) created a problem by kicking smokers outside, and now the same people want to punish them for not freezing to death while they're there. We've had the Lancashire Constabulary sounding off in similar vein as well, blaming smokers for being assaulted more often through being forced outside.

Oh, and @Iain Purdie; if nasty, misanthropic, smug, supercilious, spiteful gits like you hadn't ensured that the compromise of properly ventilated smoking areas inside pubs and clubs was nixed in short order, there wouldn't be a problem with your apparently infrequently laundered clothes OR a requirement for patio heaters.

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Black Helicopters

How long until...

Government employees stand outside pubs and take our umbrellas and jackets away as we come out for a smoke in the rain??

As far as energy efficiency and carbon footprinting goes, they'd do better to introduce videoconferencing for all their pointless "summits" that never achieve anything of worth, rather then flying themselves and all their entourage halfway round the world to debate the shape of bananas.

Damned "people of dubious parentage" that they are.

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@Webster Phreaky

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

So who told you this? Meteorologists? The ones who say "yup there is global warming" and you don't believe that (it's all a conspiracy!! ECOFACISTS hate ME!!!!) yet you will believe them saying this has been an extremely cold winter.

Now either there IS no conspiracy (since anti-GW meteorologists are saying "cold" without censure) or you only believe them when they say what you want to believe. Or it could be that this being a cold winter isn't against the models that predict global warming (i.e. they expected it months ahead with the same models that say "GW is happening and we're the major cause").

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@lan Purdie

"Allowing separate, ventilated smoking rooms would have solved all of your problems- but of course this would not have satisfied your desire for spiteful retribution against all those smokers, having the sheer audacity to make a choice different to yours, all whilst paying (collectively) many billions of pounds in tax."

Excellent point! These poor downtrodden believers in freedom of choice then go on to cost people like Alan and me, through our taxes, billions of pounds needing treatment for the results of them exercising their freedom of choice to stupidly ignore proven medical facts.

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12V

Why not rewire the house for 12V, stick a transformer in the consumer unit, install LED lighting and get rid of the multitude of power bricks scattered around the house?

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One thing with MEPs

Is that you can be pretty sure THEIR heaters in THEIR patios will continue to be red-hot.

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Wrong measure of ineffiency

Patio heaters are efficient at heating patios, but they're an inefficient way of using up our natural gas reserves... Not much bang for your carbon kilo. Still the way to solve that is to push the price of gas up even further - but the Daily Mail luddites start whinging and whining.

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Anonymous Coward

Smokers: get over yourselves.

If people need to have a cigarette on a night out, if they simply can't go without one for an hour, they're addicts. And if you're an addict, don't go bleating about personal choice, because feeding an addiction is NOT exercising personal choice. A quick fag by the door lets you sate the addiction, and that's all that is necessary to allow you to continue to be productive. Smoking indoors makes it harder for other people to make the personal choice to quit, because you force on them a quick wiff of the stuff that their bodies are crying out for.

IF you can go 24 hours without a cigarette and not be like a bear with a sore head, THEN you can talk about personal choice.

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How about gaslights?

how about they start using gas lighting to light patios outside public houses? To do this you'd need a gas flame and some kind of reflector -- they'd give off rather a lot of heat also, so those forced outside by the smoking ban may not freeze to death.

I agree that this is all about smokers. If the EU was serious about treating this as a health issue they'd have allowed adequately ventilated rooms. While in Germany last year I ate in a few establishments that allowed smoking indoors -- and never left smelling of smoke -- because they had adequately vented areas to smoke in.

Sometime I really want to believe in man-made climate change -- because I'd love to believe that his species is due for extinction. Any species that deliberately removes all pleasure and freedom from life for the sake of a few morons doesn't deserve to survive.

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Gav
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Patio Heaters Are Crap

Such a lot of hot air, and most of it avoiding the basic fact that patio heaters are useless. They are inefficient because they burn all that gas and don't achieve what they're suppose to do. I've not encountered one yet that didn't do one of two things;

- Nothing. The heat you receive from them is negligible enough to make no difference. It's all going straight up.

- Burn the part of your body closest, leaving the rest of you frozen.

No matter what you do, and how they are designed, you are trying to achieve the impossible; i.e. heat an area that's wide open to the elements. You'd think that this would have penetrated people's thick skulls, but apparently not. So maybe we do need legislation to stop the idiocy.

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Boffin

That's not a problem, John

"When it comes to patio heaters, the MEPs' report has two problems. First, they are making a moral judgement about the use of external heaters."

Actually, that's not a problem. If laws were always made and enforced on the basis of moral judgment I think we'd all be living in a much better world. Certainly, having them based on amoral judgments isn't panning out too well, is it?

Patio heaters are a waste and are a bad thing. You can dance around the figures all you want but there is no legitimate reason to not compare a patio heater with extra layers of clothing, at which point their inefficiency becomes very clear indeed. They are a really crap way to keep people warm.

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@Killjoys

Presumably you didnt open every door and window in your house, leave the cooker on after you had finished cooking your meal, have a movie playing in your dvd player, SKY on the TV and Cocker on the stereo.. because that would be wasteful and.. well.. stupid.

The Reg may be dwelling on the "Oxen, misery and typhus is the new black!" brigade, but the fact is the majority of "Killjoys" would think it would be nice enough to just knock some of the senseless waste on the head. Disposable consumer fad electronics, hoiking tonnes of food cooked on the off chance that someone might be inconvenienced by waiting more than 60 seconds for a burger, and heating half a city block of open winter air for a bunch of people too drunk to tell the difference, for example. You may find yourself somewhere in the middle ground, but at the other extreme to the "Killjoys" are the over-entitled lazy prats who dont give a shit what happens so long as they arent inconvenienced or, heaven forfend, required to turn off a lightbulb occasionally.

People are so obsessed with the evil greenies that they havent even thought to give the decadent prats a hefty kick in the arse for giving the evil greenies so much damned ammunition. Go on. Give them a kick. And another!

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Coat

Wot a load of nonesense

@ Dazzer – bonfires are already illegal in a few countries, believe it or not. Friends of mine in Belgium have had Plod round because their neighbouring farmer had dumped scrubwood on the land they were building their house on and set the scrubwood on fire. Twas private land, so my mate was “guilty” of an Eco Crime. End of.

@Mark Fisher – I’m also surprised it took this long for someone to mention this.20 kiloton of CO2 and several hundred million euro, which even the report says is a serious undercall. No way they’ve factored in all the associated entourages; journos, hookers/rentboys, trailing mistresses etc. http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,479326,00.html

I for one can’t take anything this lot say on efficiency until they stop that disgusting circus.

I’m behind Mr Lettuce on this article – it goes a bit behind the usual “anti-EU” headline. It’s all about relativity, to borrow from a mildly famous patent clerk. The average domestic patio heater will use in absolute terms significantly less than a 50” flatscreen, by virtue of the fact the patio heater will be lucky to used 12 times in a year. Talk of motion sensors etc – it makes sense (by a factor of several hundred – again in absolutes) to have passive IR sensors built into every TV and computer screen to switch off the screen when nobody is in front of it. My girlfriend for one will happily give me a bolloking for leaving a 15w hall light on for 15 mins – but thinks nothing of leaving a 200+ watt TV on for 30 mins whilst she goes for a bath or whatever. Then there are the muppets at home who use a 140 watt PC to listen to the radio over the internet or have a 24x7 file server which gets utilised maybe 20 mins per day.

Now, pubs are businesses like any other. If you want to start talking about inefficiencies – there are plenty to choose from. The gigawatts used in lighting the retail industry, especially the fashion outlets for instance. Most of them need airco to *cool* the stores because of the heat thrown off by the lighting.

Then of course there are the screeds of idiotic EU and national laws that are staggeringly inefficient. Like encouraging northern European farmers to grow energy hungry crops not suited to their latitude - and then dump the crops on more efficient African farmers driving them out of business. Or, paying fishermen to travel as far as the Antarctic – where Mr Efficient Market would have laughed them out of existence due to fuel costs alone a long time ago.

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Yes ban private cars

We would have cleaner air, more exercise, less road fatalities, less noise, faster response times from emergency services and quicker more efficient public transport.

Taxi's would become cheaper as usage goes up and there could be exemptions for business and those with mobility issues.

I'm not joking, we all know it will come to this eventually and the sooner the better.

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Ventilated rooms

aren't a solution. Employers have a legal (and I'd say moral) duty to provide a safe working environment for their staff. Concentrating the smokers in one place only makes the problem worse for the people who have to work/clean in there. It's one of the reasons airlines went non-smoking years ago.

You could try and hire smokers, but that would be discriminatory, and even if the staffer (smoker or not) signed a disclaimer it still wouldn't stop them coming back in ten years when they have lung cancer and suing the pub/brewery claiming "You didn't tell me it would kill me".

Some people like a glass of champagne while they have sex, but no-one suggests that pubs provide bedrooms. Some things are assumed to be private and better done at home where no-one else will be offended. Smoking is in that category.

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Unhappy

I'm a smoker...

But round here, Calderdale, West Yorkshire, some of the pubs have electric heaters with big buttons. You push 'em, they turn on, then turn off some 10 minutes later. But if you're really serious about saving the planet (as opposed to hating on the smokers), don't fly (Massive carbon footprint), don't drive, do turn off TVs, DVDs & PCs (as opposed to standby), and ensure your fridge/freezer is filled to capacity and running at its most efficient.

Recycle - paper tin and glass.

Only vote for politicians who are really interested in changing things on a global scale, and if you absolutely must buy petrol don't buy it from conglomerates who post a 27 Billion pound profit for the last year whilst charging us over a pound sterling for a f***ing litre of the stuff...

IMHO.

Or, you know, argue about weather evil baby killing smokers should be cold - (SPELLING MISTAKE INTENTIONAL).

Tony F Paulazzo.

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BTU - Britains' Terminally Uneducated...

I’ve been reading some more comments, especially from the anti-smoker brigade.

It seems many of you think that all gas powered outdoor space heaters are those cheap B&Q metallic mushrooms – and no other country has *ever* had terrace heating before. How typically parochial.

I wasn’t around in Paris 100 years ago, but I know that a fair few public hangouts had gas powered terrace heaters back then. They looked like old fashioned “electric bar” heaters – the kind you used to see in bathrooms etc in the UK 30 years ago – but these were powered by gas (probably"brown/city" gas rather than butane). And currently in Brussels you’ll find quite a number of very similar terrace heaters outside upmarket bars, cafes, restaurants and even hotels (like the once-famous Metropole). They didn’t just appear to appease recently evicted smokers – they’ve been part of the scenery for generations and are part and parcel of the “café culture”. Yes, it’s “wasteful” – but almost all the establishments have awnings and only use them when necessary. With the awning, you can almost forget about the "burning heas/frozen feet" syndrome.

Oh, and just to in case anyone still fancies a puff *indoors* - jump on the Eurostar to Brussels. Many a local and expat bar still allows smoking. They interpreted the law such that it was up to the bar owner to provide adequate ventilation and smoking\non smoking areas. One bar I know well has the smoking on the ground floor (where the bar is) and the non-smoking on the upper balcony…

P.s – I am strongly anti-smoking, but I am even more strongly against idiotic, counterproductive and near-communist authoritarian regulations.

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Andrew Heenan for PM

and yes, please ban cars too. forget the pollution, they kill children. killing children should DEFINITELY be illegal.

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Energy efficiency

Ban the interfering so-and-sos and we'll save loads of wasted energy !! I'm all for it !! Nothing a little nuke in Brussels wouldn't solve !!

Think of all that money saved that could have been better spend on OAPs and healthcare !!

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Go

Oh Well

I enjoy having a pint outside in the summer. But I live in Scotland so after about 4 in the afternoon on the 3 warm days we ahve per year it is too cold to sit outside.

Answer = patio heaters in my local boozer.

Ban the patio heaters and I'll just have to hop on a couple of cheap flights to spain to get my beer garden drinking.

Almost as cheap and just as good for the environment!

Down with hippies

Chris

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Ventilation and where did that girl go!?

Ventilation? Ha. Long ago I worked in a bar where we had a massive electrostatic smoke eater and two industrial size belt driven ventilation fans that literally dumped the inside air contents outside - wholesale. Guess what? Doesn't work.

Smoke is dust.

Sorry to you smokers, but the choice of 30% results in the lack of choice for 70%, and you all do not even notice the way you smell since you participate. Dump an ashtray from the night before but don't wipe it clean. Smell it up close. Voilla.

I vote for keeping the heaters since they are for comfort and if we do not stop the mal-informed greenie weenies somewhere they will seek ever higher plateaus of efficiency at the expense of the human element that makes living just that. Unless there is cutting wind without a windstop the heaters work sufficiently well to turn a quick fix into a less onerous experience. Anyway you smokers will skim more than a few birds outside...trust me. So quit your whining. You will meet and have conversations with like minded and likely interesting people even if you are not on the make chasing girls or guys. Adversity creates fraternity, and smoking is already a social link.

If scamming inside a bar you should meet a girl, go outside with her while she lights up, and you will win points. Or she might stay outside or leave...

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Only going after these

Because they got bored 4x4 bashing.

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Pirate

Not an addict - GW Myth

Actually, for those anti-smokers who have posted here telling smokers to give up, sod off. I smoke an occasional cigar (a box of 25 lasts me years). But one of the places I used to like smoking a cigar was when I was drinking at a pub. I smoke cigars because I enjoy them, not because of any mythical addiction. The smoking ban was nothing more than a ridiculous effort of the nanny state to tell everyone what to do all the time, and this patio heater thing is just the same.

Now, the worse myth is that perpetuated by the church of anthropogenic climate change (CACC). CACC would like you to believe that the climate models predicated a cold winter this year when we can't predict whether its going to rain tomorrow. The climate models are all so badly frigged with estimates of positive feedback in order to generate doomsday scenarios that they are at best untrustworthy, and at worth downright dishonest. The earth is getting a bit warmer at the moment, but so is the rest of the damn solar system - deal with it. Give it a few years and we'll be back to being too cold all the time. The earth has survived some pretty huge catastrophic climate events over its few million years in existence, and none of these have prevented the earth from remaining stable. If you think a handful of puny humans releasing CO2 in to the atmosphere that used to be there in the first place (where do you think it came from?) is going to make any real difference you are in cloud cuckoo land.

I wonder how many CACC activists in this thread know that CO2 isn't even near the top of the list of greenhouse gases. Water vapour has that slot, and methane follows it. The great thing about water vapour is our models really badly predict levels of it - despite it driving greenhouse style heating/cooling on earth more than the other variables (like CO2). I wonder how many more could answer the question, "What traps the most CO2?". The answer is not foliage/trees. Its limestone. Go and ask a geologist how limestone formation varies over time.

Get a grip, this is all a conspiracy of the smoke nazi's, wrapped up in the mythology of the CACC, to ensure that the brown shirted fun police make our lives a misery, just because they don't like their own.

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As usual the politicians are having the wrong debate

If we are heading towards a world where carbon emissions are to be reduced or controlled then they need to be looking at how that will be regulated - and what balance there will be between market forces and state intervention - who will have what rights to consume energy? How far will the market be used? How is state intervention to be targetted to allow people to use energy more efficiently? Do the MEPs discuss this? Hell no - that would be far to proactive - why not just sit back and think of things to ban? We pay them for this? It would be cheaper to commission Channel 4 to do a "Top 100 gas guzzlers we all love to hate".

The MEPs calling for banning things seem to be thinking we have all moved to the former Soviet Union instead of living in a market based economy where banning things is like trying to nail down a jelly.

And how would a patio heater be defined legally? There are surely plenty of legitimate uses for outdoor heating.

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Boffin

Not even that inefficient

I was always told that smoking dope induced paranoia; experience taught me that if you got paranoid, you just weren't smoking enough. At last a possible explanation for the dilemma! Judging by the comments from tobacco smokers above, it must be the tobacco in joints that makes you paranoid.

Gas patio heaters *do* work on the infra-red radiant principle (*). The metal mesh surrounding the burner works exactly like a gas mantle, except it "glows" in the infra-red. The shiny metal top reflects the radiant heat down onto the people sitting near it. Infra-red light is absorbed by solid matter; it travels through air in a straight line.

I've got a chiminea. Unlike propane, wood is renewable -- and so far, I've barely used a whole kWh of electricity on cutting the stuff, so that's about as much CO2 as running a 6kW patio heater for 10 minutes. Not bad going for three summers of outdoor heating; I probably brothe out more than that.

(*) At least, the properly-built ones do. But I wouldn't put it past the cheese-parers that run Industry today to have come up with a design for a patio heater that can be built in the third world for a few pence less, at a cost of uselessly pissing out half the gas; because the average idiot punter sees a fiver off the initial purchase price and doesn't factor in how much they are eventually going to be spending on consumables (_vide_ the entire inkjet printer market).

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Heaters unnecessary

The point is not how efficient a given appliance is at heating a patio, but how pointless that is. What is the carbon footprint of a warm sweater, or a blanket? It is easy to say a device is efficient at doing its job without asking whether that job is unnecessary or the wrong solution to a problem.

If you are cold out of doors in the winter, may I suggest you either go back in doors or put on some more suitable clothing - rather than making a disproportionately large impact on the environment because you can't be bothered to wear a sweater?

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goverment - idiots

it is true that there would be a lot less of there heaters if it wasn’t for the smoking ban! why they didn’t just legislate it and make pubs have to pay a small fee to be a smoking pub I don’t know! its just idiotic!!! and id like to add people who hate smokers are just as ridiculous! i mean its personal choice! therefore i will give you a counter retort of "omfg you are lame with your fake coughs when you see someone 30 meters away with a fag and your wafting smoke and looks of disgust you rude gits".

this country is getting in a sad sad state!

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Tim
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IT Angle

Cars vs Patio Heaters

If Patio Heaters raised taxes in the same way as cars do, then there'd be no way they'd be proposing banning them.

As for the point or pointlessness of wasting heat like that, well what would it matter if say the heater was electric and fueled off renewable energy with no CO2 emissions involved? I mean it would be little different then to the heat given off by Volcanoes and we don't go around banning them despite all that wasted heat! (though they do pump out a fair amount of emissions).

Hmm, there's a thought. Geo-thermal patio heaters! :-)

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Paris Hilton

How many of you keep your car idling?

I'm wondering how many of the people here bashing the patio heater keep their engine running while stationary in traffic... I'm reckoning my patio heater (on low - probably about 6kW) uses less energy than an engine at idle (about 8kW for an average car). I do turn off my engine while stopped in traffic, and I'm pretty sure I spend less time using my patio heater through the year than I do sitting in said traffic.

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jay

no heaters

i think this article is deliberately avoiding the point.

yes gas and movement sensitive patio heaters would be efficient for their stated purpose.

perhaps consider if they should be in use at all. beign a member of your convict subsidiary in Australia, we very rarely have need for these things, but i dare say the goal is to remove the heaters because heating outside is counter to energy saving measures.

im sure i am not the only one to see this as there are loads of responses above which likely say the same thing

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Unhappy

Smoking -- follow the money

The simple fact is that smoking is not as profitable for the Government as it used to be.

Back in the days, almost everybody smoked; so tobacco duty was, to all intents and purposes, a general tax.

Nowadays, thanks to the opening-up of internal borders within the EU, only a small proportion of the cigarettes smoked in Britain have actually had any duty paid on them in Britain. Most have been imported from other EU countries, where duty rates are lower but whose healthcare schemes are run on different lines -- often requiring smokers to pay for private medical insurance. Whenever you buy tobacco in, say, Belgium or Spain to avoid the level of duty imposed in Britain, you are not paying duty to the British NHS. Then there are various trans-shipment scams which result in no duty actually being paid anywhere. There is even a market in counterfeit rolling tobacco, packaged up to look like Golden Virginia or Old Holborn, complete with health warnings -- and of course, nobody is paying duty on this!

When you add up the effects on cigarette duty from cheap imported tobacco, subsidised nicotine patches for those seeking to kick the habit and plentiful (i.e. feasible to smoke neat) homegrown marijuana, it's not worth it anymore. Hence the Government seeking to eradicate the smoking habit altogether -- especially when you consider that those who smoke imported tobacco probably won't be looking abroad for treatment when they get cancer. Smokers are costing too much for what they bring in.

Therefore, the Government requires another source of revenue -- and preferably one which will have the least impact on those who have the most money (therefore, definitely *not* an income-dependent tax) -- ideally, a tax on something people have no choice but to do and therefore have no choice but to pay it.

The motor car has already -- for all practical purposes -- successfully been reclassified from "luxury" to "necessity", so as to create another effective general tax. The harsh reality, to which MPs in London are oblivious, is that many people have no choice but to use their cars. A decent, integrated public transport system would reduce car use and therefore government revenue, so isn't going to happen. London is a special case: for one thing, the capital's roads would seize solid if everyone riding the buses and tubes was forced into cars; and for another, many tourists coming to the UK *only* visit London, thus receiving a skewed impression of the general state of public transport in the UK.

But the real "holy grail" would be a tax on food. So far, the public has been unequivocal in its opposition to such a thing. Hence the demonisation of "obesity", with examples being trotted out on a daily basis to convince the British public to accept the notion of a food tax. (As a useful aside, a specific campaign against *childhood* obesity can be exploited to get kids used to the idea of having The Authorities probe into their lives from an early age: school lunchbox inspections and so forth are an ideal way to acclimatise them to heavy state intervention. It is a small step from telling someone what to eat to telling them what to think.) Initially, of course, the food tax will just cover chocolate, chips and salt; but history shows that the scope of taxes is never narrowed. Potatoes will be taxed, under the colour that they could be made into chips; and so forth. Eventually, it won't be possible to buy an organic rocket salad with fat-free, vinegar-free, egg-free, dairy-free, salt-free, taste-free dressing without paying tax on it.

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Anonymous Coward

Too many people...

Otherwise they would all fit inside..

How is it all the bloody eco-hippies have a million kids each, and then expect us to worry about the future planet their screaming tie-dyed spawn of satan will inhabit.

Just stick some rubber on it.

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