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Paris to ban gas terrace heaters

Smokers left out in the cold because city council says heaters cause too much pollution

TERRACE heaters and "ugly" plastic awnings will be banned by Paris city council because they cause too much pollution.

Since the introduction of France's smoking ban in 2007, the number of terraces, where smokers can continue to light up, has risen by 27 per cent.

The Paris authority has agreed to allow more space on the pavements for terraces, but at a cost: a ban on gas heaters because of pollution and on plastic covers because they look ugly.

Paris commerce spokeswoman Lyne Cohen-Solal said the ban was necessary, otherwise increasing the number of terraces would not been coherent with the city's other policy of reducing greenhouse gases.

Restaurants will have at least two years to adhere to the new plans.

Of the 15,000 cafes and restaurants in Paris, 9,000 have terraces.

Restaurants will be able to apply to set up a terrace via the internet and the law will be simplified to allow them to use whatever space is outside their establishment, as long as they leave a 1.6m gap for pedestrians.

While the union of restaurateurs and hoteliers (Umih) has welcomed the relaxed rules on terraces, which it says represent some 30% of turnover, the residents' association Vivre Paris has condemned the "invasion" of the pavements.

The mayor of the VI arrondissement Jean-Pierre Lecoq, told Le Figaro "instead of taking control fo the situation, the Paris authority seems to want to legalise all those who are breaking the law".

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