Booze and laughing gas could be banned in Bromley parks

Drinking alcohol and huffing laughing gas could soon be banned in parks across Bromley, under new plans being considered by the local authority.

The measures to curb perceived anti-social behaviour are just some being considered in a wide-ranging consultation launched by Bromley Council, for which it is currently encouraging public feedback on.

The consultation includes proposals to extend alcohol-free zones across the borough, including in parks, while psychoactive substances – such as synthetic marijuana and nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas -would also be banned under the move.

The move comes after a summer where, with pubs closed into July, many turned to their humble local park to enjoy some cans with their friends.

However, the increased number of people getting inebriated in greenspaces across the borough saw an associated rise in anti-social behaviour – with public urination a particular issue.

Queensmead Recreation Ground was a particular hotspot for trouble – with the council in June forced to put up fencing to prevent revellers from relieving themselves in bushes, after neighbours claimed the run-off was flooding into their backyards.

Likewise, concerns across the UK have risen during summer over the use of nitrous oxide as a hallucinogen.

Sold legally, nitrous oxide is used for medical and commercial uses, such as making whipped cream – but is illegal when sold as a psychoactive drug.

When inhaled, the gas can cause elation and a feeling of light-headedness.

The discarded silver canisters that the gas comes in have become a familiar sight in many parks and streets.

The proposals being considered by Bromley now would further beef-up enforcement options to tackle anti-social drinking and drug use, the council says.

Cllr Pauline Tunnicliffe, the chair of the general purposes and licensing committee, said the consultation was “an opportunity to have your say”.

“The proposals would not stop drinking where there is a licensed premises but we are looking to help prevent anti-social behaviour which is associated with drinking and support the police,” she said.

“Likewise, it would also help the police tackle the latest craze of using nitrous oxide in balloons and the anti-social behaviour that comes with this.

“Alcohol exclusion zones already exist in some of our town centres and by extending the zone to cover the whole borough, this will be more easily understood.

“Banning alcohol in this way from public places, including parks and open spaces, will also send a message that anti-social behaviour is not acceptable.”

Alcohol-free control zones allow police to seize alcohol if a person who is found drinking is acting in an anti-social manner, while a fine may also be imposed.

The consultation will run until November 27 with those interested asked to visit www.bromley.gov.uk/consultation.

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