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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  1. Jimbo
    Paris Hilton

    Typical MP's

    They busy setting stupid policys instead of cutting their own carbon emission? I see new government buildings going up all the time and old buildings being destroyed, because they are old)

    All this on top of out of date street lamps, roads are full of traffic caused by electric traffic lights and poor design of traffic systems, when will they start practising what they are preaching!

    Paris: cause she aint that stupid!

  2. dervheid

    The patois...

    of hysteria. Typical, knee-jerk reaction from the biggest collection of jerks on the planet. If we could harness the pure hot air being generated by MEP's, I believe we could heat half of Europe for free.

    It'd be (vaguely) interesting to know just what proportion of these numpties have said offending article(s) themselves!

    I'll fetch my nice, warm, baby seal fur lined coat for the patio.

  3. Tim Spence


    Your dubiously useful stats at the end there are all well and good, but they are not very relevant. I realise they are to make a point, but the problem with patio heaters isn't that they are particularly energy inefficient (as the article points out, whether something is efficient depends on what it's purpose is), nor that they are particularly big carbon generators in the grand scale of things. It's that they are just so wasteful and pointless.

    Sure, they are probably okay at heating patios, and that is their purpose, but the question we need to ask is should we be heating patios in the first place? I can't believe I am approving of a nanny state banning of an activity like this, but really, people are just bloody idiots for doing it. So they only account for ~0.1% of the UK's carbon output? So what, that's only because there are a limited number of idiots in the UK.

    Cars get people from A to B, patio heaters blow hot air into space, so cars are worth the carbon output.

    And besides, cars go faster than patio heaters

  4. Ian Ferguson
    Dead Vulture

    Missing the point

    Wow, what a bitter article!

    Patio heaters *are* inefficient - because almost all of the heat they generate is wasted. A tiny fraction is used if there happens to be someone sitting near one. Comparing them to jumpers and electric lights is a bit silly - the former keeps you warm with no energy output, and the latter are increasingly designed to do their job with as little waste as possible.

    The quantity of CO2 emissions may be comparatively small, but it's all about little steps - no one decision will eliminate pollution, it's more that we need to reduce our energy use overall. And yes, that includes motor vehicles too, as you quite rightly point out, they are a major contributor.

    I wonder if infra-red radiation heaters may be better outside pubs than gas patio heaters; they are used in zoos to keep animals warm. They are more efficient (as I understand) because they only heat the surface of what is below them, not the air.

    Or you could realise you live in the northern hemisphere (to be really picky; the north of the northern hemisphere, I'm sure the south of it is perfectly warm) and sit indoors. Our ancestors invented houses for a good reason!

  5. Steve Browne

    Join up the ends!

    Why are these patio heaters used? To provide some shelter for people as a result of the smoking ban, as a utility for dog owners, who's pets are banned form the bar, as a facility to allow children to accompany their parents to a pub.

    Perhaps MEPs and MPs need a lesson in cause and effect.

  6. Chad H.
    Thumb Down

    I'm searching for a point here, but I can't find it

    right, so its okay to heat a patio, as long as you can find a more inefficent way of doing it, but its not okay to warm your house, no matter how efficient, if you can put more clothes on.

    If your cold, go inside people. Its not that hard.

  7. Andrew Heenan
    Thumb Down

    EU Fiddles While Rome Burns?

    Or was it Robbie Burns?

    Truth is, of course, that the Crusade Against Patio Heaters has nothing whatsoever to do with saving the planet - it's all about spiting smokers who dare to keep warm after being expelled from public buildings.

    So long as toilet rolls are made from bleached virgin paper, bottles are recycled rather than being reused, and frequent fliers are taxed less than rail travellers, then 'saving the planet' is a talking shop, not a call to action.

    And patio heaters should be round about 1,538 on any intelligent list of priorities.

  8. Peter

    Patio heaters

    If they hadn't banned smoking in pubs/restaurants etc and instead had legislated for separate, well ventilated areas for smokers then there wouldn't all be this stuff about banning patio heaters.

    On the other hand, I've never before in my life seen so many places now putting a few tables and chairs or benches outside eating and drinking establishments. It used to be virtually impossible to enjoy café culture in boring old England, now every tin pot greasy spoon down our (low end) High Street has facilities, and the upmarket ones have heaters too.


  9. Anigel

    If it really was all about efficiency

    We would be forced to just ban the EU.

    Get rid of all these MEPs and the EU carbon footprint would drop by a massive percentage.

    So we are banning them next?

  10. Steven

    Heating patios with no-one on them... smokers outsdie...

    Considering most people drag their patio heater out only a dozen or so occasions throughout the year - I really think the notion that we are destroying our planet with these is rather silly....

    I wonder how much gas is burned off on rigs / gas extraction - in comparison to that being used to keep me and my guests warm on a summer evening...?

    Anyway - its pubs using 3 or 4 gas heaters outside their pub for smokers that annoys me. Not that I think smokers should be cold - but that the heaters seem to be on all night - regardless of whether or not any smokers are sat under them... surely this increases the cost of my pint? - let alone the damage that its causing....


  11. Edward Pearson

    Yet another....

    Yet another political white elephant.

    We have over 650 "leaders" in Whitehall and the Commons, who seem to spend thier entire time thinking up little policies designed to make it look like they're ACTAULLY useful. Unfortunatly these normally involve banning things, and I've said, ban enough minority persuits and you'll end up with an angry majority.

    I've never liked the current method of proportional representation. Oh I love the idea of a democracy, and a system that wouldn't allow for a dictatorship to form is of course needed. But do we really need to pay 650+ people a good full time salary for them to find even stranger ways to spend our money? Too many cooks anybody?

    It's not like a MP REALLY represents the views of their constituency during the day to day dealings with the commons, when it boils down to it, its all about personality, and only a certain kind of person becomes an MP.

    My point is, we've already got a load of overpaid politicians making stupid decisions, spending lots and lots of OUR money on daft idea's that the public never really hear about, all to justify their existance and move one step up on the ladder. We really do not need ANOTHER group of people even LESS in touch with the British public making decisions with the idea of personal career acceleration in mind, rather than making laws which will benefit the people, which in many cases means sitting the fuck still and doing NOTHING.

    The EU and their stupid little laws can piss off, we've get plenty of idiots this side of the water doing things we don't want. I don't want the Euro. I don't want ID cards. I want to smoke (even if it's in the street). I want to stay out late drinking. I want a patio heater. I'm a fucking adult, treat me like one.

  12. Dazzer


    I haven't understood this Daily Mail-esque campaign to ban patio heaters since it was first mooted. Never mind the wrong end of the wrong stick the MEPs have grasped as pointed out in the article, but what's to stop me - in light of not being able to purchase said patio heater - from just lighting a bonfire in my garden? I would imagine the pollution from a smokey fire would be worse than a gas heater and it wouldn't be nearly as efficient as I wouldn't be able to direct the heat to a specific area unless I built some kind of reflective hood to go over it.

    These people need to start worrying about the real problems in this world - crime, wars, bigotry, poverty etc, not people who want to have a drink and a fag in their back garden on a chilly winter evening.

  13. Keith T
    Paris Hilton

    Another reason for getting rid of patio heaters

    Apparently small bitey insects are drawn to the Co2 that these things give off .

    Getting rid of patio heaters may relieve us of mozzie bites while trying to eat a burger at a barbie.

    (Paris as there's enough hot air about her already)

  14. James Osborne-Smith

    Thin end of the wedge indeed

    Well, we would go back inside, but it seems that a little legislative blip means that we can't do what ~ 30% of people want to do inside.

    I mea it's not like we didn't have a full round of opinion polls and a referendum before this was imposed right...?

  15. John Lettice (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Missing the point

    You're missing points here yourself. The intent of the Commission exercise, as I noted in my apparently bitter report, is to achieve energy savings by encouraging the use of more efficient appliances, and it is doing so via an 'action plan' that targets specific areas where significant gains can be readily achieved. This seems to me to be a relatively sane approach in that it's a matter of making stuff work better and doing stuff that will make a difference.

    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. Certainly heat from them not used to warm bodies could be termed 'wasted', but extra heat consumed indoors because you decline to wear two jumpers could also be termed wasted. There's a sliding scale from thoughtless or careless to wicked, if you want to get moral about it, and when legislators get into this territory they have to decide where they start and where they end when it comes to forbidding things.

    That cuts against the Commission approach, and introduces counter-productive arguments. You won't get too many people arguing against just trying to make stuff work better, but you'll get big rows when you start to tell them what they ought or ought not to do, what is and is not 'bad'.

    The second problem is that the impact of these devices is negligible. And personally I don't much hold with the 'every little helps' approach. Time spent worrying away at little things that aren't going to make a lot of difference could far more usefully be spent on things that will make a more substantial difference. They're a waste of energy, right? So what's the carbon footprint of that?

    BTW, for the contributor who mentioned flaring in the energy industry, the DEFRA figure for this in 2006 was 3.8 million tonnes, 0.7 per cent of total emissions.

  16. Tawakalna


    I use mine as a barbecue, it's wood/charcoal burning and very good it is too, it's one of those big clay things that looks like a bottle kiln and stays warm for hours even after you've finished the barbeque. Mind you, we get so few warm sunny evenings nowadays I never get chance to use it.

  17. The Cube

    The key is in the objectives

    "improvements in insulation, energy use management and the efficiency of energy-using devices".

    Whilst the heaters themselves may be comparatively energy efficient the key issue is that they are trying to heat the entire atmosphere. I am sure that big oil loves this idea, cut out the middle man (cars) and just heat the planet up directly, using more of their product.

    If you consider the other two parts, insulation and energy use management the patio heater, as hinted by the name, is not going to score too well. I don't need a job at the Building Research Institute to work out that a patio is not very well insulated and therefore the management of energy use in heating it is poor. Of course, what we really need is some sort of insulating structure to contain the heat from these heaters, that the smokers could sit or stand in.

    Unfortunately our shiny new laws that prevent you smoking in an area where people are employed to work prevent this, whilst failing to address the real issues in an enclosed space of people farting (thus the icon) and eating garlic. Perhaps what the pubs need is a portakabin with a Roomba to keep it clean instead, until the EU vote on robot rights anyway....

  18. Anton Ivanov

    Re: Missing the point

    Patio heaters actually operate mostly based on IR and the efficiency of the good ones is much higher than one would expect. None of them heats "the air over patio". They cannot because the hot air will be carried away by convection in a matter of seconds. They heat objects the reflector points at.

    And reading the comments - it is quite obvious that the science education in British schools has hit rock bottom. The readers of a renowned IT rag being as scientifically ignorant as the bunch of morons in Brussels... No wonder "green" IT policy in the UK is such a load of bull...

  19. Chris G

    Turn out the lights!

    Back in the olden days when I was a lad, street lights were turned off somewhere around midnight. Nowadays they are never turned off even in the tiny urbanisations on a small island like Ibiza where I now live. Even if the reason for this is security against mugging or burglars etc, surely it is possible to reduce the level of light used after a certain time?

    I have flown over a fair number of different parts of the world at night and noticed that almost the entire planet is lit at night, does anyone know how much this costs and what the carbon footprint for all night lighting adds up to?

    Perhaps it would be better if we turned off all the streetlights at night and bought ourselves LED torches and a magnum revolver, much more eco-friendly with the added benifit of reducing the worlds crim' population!

  20. Tim Spence

    RE: Turn out the lights!

    Completely off the subject, but good point! To get around the the problems of muggings or burglaries, why not (retro)fit motion sensors on them, so between the hours of midnight and 5am, they are motion-sensitive?

  21. Paul Coen

    Carbon footprint of an MEP?

    Seriously - if you factor in the typical day-to-day routine, add in travel, and then assign a share of the utilities, food deliveries, etc. of the buildings to the MEP, where do they rate compared the average citizen from their home country?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Let's improve the MEP heating arrangements

    My suggestion is to heat the patio with the far more energy efficient microwave-oven-with-the interlocks-removed. I've done some tests that suggest that a single 1.2kW magnetron from a microwave oven (mounted of course at a safe distance) can heat an entire patio at a duty ratio of 15% ... a few simple modifications and you can even control the output via a web-enabled phone.

    I'd be happy to demonstrate this to the MEP's by fitting the entire chamber with a (suitably scaled) 275kW magnetron (cheaply and easily available from many Eastern European Army and Navy stores) ... we could set up a simple web access and allow the general public to adjust the output ... now that's democracy in action.

  23. Geoff Mackenzie

    Re: Turn out the lights!

    Your post reminded my of an excellent phenomenon here in Glasgow. Here we have a whole street of street lights, just south of the river, that are controlled by light sensors. Unfortunately it's set up in such a way that when the lights are on, it's light enough that they switch off. When they're off, it's dark enough that they come on again. For several hours a night, maybe all night as far as I know, these lights cycle on and off about once every five or ten seconds.

    Awesome. Just, awesome. It's been like that for months.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Why? Why? Why?

    I wasn't going to get dragged into commenting, but due to the immensely annoying comments here, which are thought about as much as 'oh it's a green issue, I'll comment because I recycle my organic water bottles'.

    Well done Anton Ivanov, finally something intelligent to say.

    They push smokers outside for clean air, now they want the smokers to be cold. When urban 4x4's are banned maybe they can come and talk to me about a poxy patio heater.

  25. James B


    Jesuitical? What? Someone gone mad with the synonym button?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why buy an inefficient fridge?

    I don't see the problem with this, we shouldn't be selling C rated fridges in this day and age, or C rated washing machines, or C rated patio heaters for that matter.

    (An efficient patio heater converts energy to infra red which travels in a straight line and warms people up, with minimum convected hot air which just goes straight up and is wasted.)

    It's in your interests that things you buy use the minimum of energy to do the job. For some reason this story was being hijacked into 'wacky MEPs ban patio heaters'. But that looks like someone with an agenda did that. There's nothing particularly bad or unusual in MEPs voting to ban inefficient kit.

    Remember when they first brought out energy marks, fridges were C or D or even E rated. Now they're A, A+, A++ rated. That energy mark probably saves you 100-200 quid a year in electricity costs.

  27. Alex

    Ban 'em

    Hmm.. put on a jumper or put on a outside heater..put on a jumper or put on a heater..put on a jumper or put on a outside heater..put on a jumper or put on a heater..put on a jumper or put on a outside heater..put on a jumper or put on a heater.. urrghhh! I can't make the decision..... regulate it!

    Seriously though, we don't need 'em anyway (jumpers I mean)....

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Why? Why? Why?

    I figured a great way to cut out urban 4x4s: make the full cost of any accident involving a 4x4 in a city be met by the insurers of the 4x4 (unless two 4x4s are involved, in which case normal rules apply). Insurance costs instantly go to the point where only the stupidly rich can afford the damn things, and even they probably can't drive anywhere with all the crooks driving cars into the side of them for the insurance.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    has it got to do with a bunch of idiotic bureaucrats what I choose to use to keep myself (or my customers) warm.

    Their f&*$ked up rules and regulations and butting into everyones business is what has made people use these things anyway.

    Let us get on with our lives and stop interfering into mine - bunch of useless tossers.

  30. Richard

    To Chris G:

    I *luuuuurve* that you're concerned about the environment, and that this concern came about having "flown over a fair number of different parts of the world". Brilliant!

    Also, a huge project to arm everyone would reduce the criminal and non-criminal population alike.

    In a legalistic sense, you can't define whether patio heaters are efficient or not (except comparing between different types). But to me they scream an arrogance wastefulness that means I wouldn't mourn their passing...

  31. yeah, right.


    It's a pity that European MPs aren't made to take a test on "reality" after being elected to office. They seem to be a bunch of mostly uneducated dolts who will gladly jump on the first bandwagon that comes along their way. All without doing the basic research that a journalist like Lettice can do.

  32. Steve

    What *is* a patio heater?

    So, how exactly do they plan to define patio heaters, compared to,say, indoor space heaters (that one could take outside)? This is a bit like the plan to ban incandescent lightbulbs. How are they going to stop me filling my house with 60W radiant heaters purchased on the web from, say, Poland?

    At the end of the day it's just another civil-service plan whose sole object is to create work for civil servants, and so justify hiring even more timewasting jobsworths at our expense. The (dis)United States of Europe, run by unelected bureaucrats. Even Sir Humphrey would be impressed. I'm not.

  33. Iain

    No, EU good

    People have to be encouraged to give up their unnecessary and wasteful habits because I'm sorry to say Joe Public is not going to do it voluntarily. If the carrot isn't working then its time for the stick. I think any action, no matter how small, that will improve the energy-wasteful culture we in the UK and Europe seem to live in then good for the EU. I don't think the majority of people give two hoots about patio-heaters, or whether they are banned or not. If smokers have to get a bit chilly standing outside then maybe it's time to quit?

    To be perfectly honest I think El Reg has picked up on one small part of an important piece of legislation and decided to target it for a vitriolic rant in a moment of uncharacteristic nationalism.

  34. Iain Purdie

    Stuff 'em

    I've had to put up with breathing other people's smoke and going home stinking of their foul habit when I've fancied a pint or a night out for years. The extra washing this has resulted in due to my clothes being unwearable the next day has likely increased the electricity use in my house and the detergents being ejected into the water.

    Stuff 'em. They've affected my life for the worse for around 18 years. Let the bastards suffer in the cold for a ciggie. If it bothers them, then bloody give up. It's a stupid habit anyway.

  35. Quirkafleeg

    Re: To Chris G:

    “Also, a huge project to arm everyone would reduce the criminal and non-criminal population alike.”

    Well, that's one way to reduce our carbon footprint…

  36. Anonymous Coward


    The article states :

    "They're not exactly complicated constructions, and they do pretty much what it says on the tin - they heat patios, pretty effectively. You could certainly argue that it's profligate and wasteful to be heating patios on a cold February night when we should all be snug in our heavily-insulated eco-friendly homes, but it's surely unreasonable to claim they're "energy-inefficient" - if heating patios is what you want to do, they're a pretty damned efficient way to do it."

    1. They don't heat patios - they aim to heat the people standing or sitting on patios

    2. They are particularly inefficient at heating the patios - at best they increase the temperature by a degree or so and if you measured the increase in temperature of the patio slab in comparison to the energy use (Q=mct) then you would find they are very poor. Even if you tried to measure the temperature increase of the real objective - i.e. heating the people there, you'd find there were inefficient

    Now, the main point is should they be banned ? I say no, increase the tax on the fuel (patio heater gas) to the same level as that in cars first - if you can still legally drive an inefficient Porsche Cayenne Turbo then you should be able to waste money heating up the atmosphere. Or, better still, ban both and (as someone else has pointed out) all appliances rated C efficiency or below.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Ian 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.

  38. John

    You've got to start here

    It's not about how small the CO emissions of patio heaters are, it's about changing our attitudes. If we think it's ok to burn fossil fuels outside, then there's no hope when it comes down to making the more signinifcant changes necessary.

    I do regret the further tormenting of smokers, but we really have got to ban these things. Free extra jumper for smokers?

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get a Jumper

    Patio Heaters only ever burn the top of your

    head while you get cold feet anyhow.

  40. Benjamin

    Re: Pedant

    "...if you can still legally drive an inefficient Porsche Cayenne Turbo then you should be able to waste money heating up the atmosphere. Or, better still, ban both..."

    Inefficient compared to what exactly??

    And I don't really understand what you're saying, but I gather you want us to just ban everything that brings pleasure to our lives? Brilliant!

  41. Andy

    Why not

    vented patios - heat rises after all. Outside a pub you could use a heated vent system that would make the air rise and also take smoke with it.. maybe using hot air from dryer exhausts or MEP's buried below it.

    One could also fuel it with bigots or other people who believe that the UK reducing their carbon footprint to zero will make any difference to the overall figure.

    I'm glad I live in a small hamlet where nobody is kicked outside a pub for anything, let alone smoking (ventilated btw) and god forbid an MEP should come in and make a fuss, they'd end up in a pig feeder the next day.

  42. night troll

    @ Reality

    Actually, shouldn't they take the test before they are allowed to stand for election?

    Natural selection would then cut down the number of planks who would be eligable to stand for election. Come to think of it, that would be a good thing to enforce in this country (UK) too.

  43. Mark Fisher


    I'm surprised no-one has yet mentioned the huge waste of time, energy and money created by the MEPs and all their hangers-on regularly decamping to Strasbourg to hold parliamentary sessions there. I am sure that having the Parliament always sit in Brussels would do more for the planet - and our wallets - than banning patio heaters.

  44. Brett Brennan

    It's about smoking. Period.

    Living in the former colony of the United States, I've personally been assaulted by the anti-smoking Nazis complaining about my "polluting" their air at 30 meters. Over here, some municipalities are banning smoking on patios, sidewalks, parking lots, in autos - anywhere that one single sensitive child might be exposed to instant death from tobacco. Forcing people outside to smoke - with no possible option for voluntary membership in a smoking-only club or area - was supposed to be an inconvenience to stop smoking.

    Patio heaters have suddenly become a "hot" item here, as most pubs with a patio have added them for the comfort of their smoking patrons. Now the same people that banned all forms of indoor smoking are banning outdoor heating under the guise of "saving the planet" - as this reads better than bluntly stating that they are making it as uncomfortable as possible for smokers.

    John has gotten this article correct on all counts: leave moral judgment out of the equation and target a problem to solve, and do so in ways that will make a real difference.

    But, once again, the issue isn't about stealing sawdust: it's still stealing wheelbarrows. Government and business want people to stop smoking so they don't have to raise taxes or increase health benefits to pay for any problems. They also don't want the market driving up prices for resources and utilities - like electricity, water, gas, fuel - so they restrict the uses of the general population to allow them to continue to consume.

    The day that I see government offices - the REAL offices, where governors, senators, congress-critters, etc. work - without incandescent lights, lower (or higher) temperatures and COMPLETELY without smoking areas (indoor ones at that) THEN I'll start taking this seriously. Until then, fookem.

  45. Anonymous Coward

    Ladies, ladies, ladies...

    A quick look with an infrared camera will show a "typical" (sorry for the unqualified generalisation) gas patio heater heating Very efficiently - so long as you are in an expanding amorphous cone suspended above the patio heater. Below, you get warm, but not in any way efficiently.

    I know there is this Luddites versus Libertarians argument going on, with El Reg fighting the noble fight for our right to convenient comfort at any expense, but you do have to say enough waste is, well, enough... somewhere.. somehow.. and unfortunately all legislators can do is legislate, so they legislate and thus, the law.

    Whether that is effective against the average man's determination to exercise his god given right to sit comfortably in the beer garden of his local boozer wearing n'owt but his bloomers while glaciers advance and polar bears flee the bitter arctic winds... well I doubt it..

    I know this sounds mean spirited and, well, Radiohead'ish, but grow some balls people. Yes, you too, ladies. Put on your thick socks, pull on a cardie, wear a beanie and quaff your ale. Earne your right to laugh mockingly at the ladymen huddled by the hearth in the main bar - cringing meekly from the elements that you, so imperiously, embrace as kin. The wind, the rain and the snow that carved your visage from the British bedrock leaves lesser men hiding with the womenfolk and singing raucous ballads by the player piano in a vain attempt to conceal their shame. They are chalk to your granite. Clay to your rough-hewn bluestone.

    Just dont go around expecting someone to furnish a balmy summers day everywhere you decide to plant your arse and get off your face. That is just wasteful and stupid...

    ...Just because you were too gutless to move to Australia when your friends did. Maybe a few more joules will burn away the stinging memory of their smug postcards..

    Crank up the burner, barkeep!

  46. Steven Burn

    It's YOUR fault!

    I'll stop using outdoor heaters when we can have a ban on anti-smokers ......... yes Iain Purdie, I mean jackasses such as yourself!

    You wanted us banned from smoking indoors - you got your wish, now you're bitching because we dare to keep ourselves warm outdoors? (alas I don't think my reply to that would get past the El Reg filters). Here's an idea for you - you see a smoker on the same side of the road as yourself, cross over the damn thing or quit bitching.

    This whole patio heater ban, as has been pointed out, is about smokers, nothing more, nothing less (there are far more wasteful things than a damn heater!).

    .... dammit, I need a smoke now!

  47. Webster Phreaky

    Coldest Winter /Summer in last 50 years ....

    It has already been documented by Meteorologists and Geographers that 2007 and beginning of 2008 has been the Coldest winter and Heaviest precipitation in the Northern and Southern hemispheres this year, than in the last 50 years!

    Go tell Al Gore, your MP's and all the members of the Church of the Global Warming to shove their Folly up where the sun don't shine (and we're not talking about the arctic in the winter either).

    It's time to stop all this contrived bullshit to wreck the iindustrial advanced western civilizations by the3rd worlds socialists and the ones in America and Europe.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Well it's good to see that the guys in Europe have plenty to do.

    Re the "debate" it's a ----ing heater - people like heat - it accounts for ---- all stop driving you hapless ----wits. Seriously.

    Just drive less you ----s


    However it's all meaningless as most energy use is done by industry and basically what people are saying is "stop your economic growth!" But that wont be hard, soon nobody will have a manufacturing job - and all our IT and call centres will be offshored - enviromentalists must have loved the closure of all those car manufacturing plants! Just imagine how much energy that saved.

  49. TeeCee Gold badge

    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.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    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.

  51. Anonymous Coward


    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.

  52. Dr. Mouse

    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?!?!

  53. Matt

    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

  54. Anonymous Coward

    Bonfire instead

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

  55. Bruce Sinton

    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).

  56. Nick Palmer

    @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.

  57. Mike Crawshaw
    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.

  58. Mark

    @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").

  59. Roger Bradley
    Thumb Up

    @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.

  60. b166er


    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?

  61. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    One thing with MEPs

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

  62. getafix

    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.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  64. Cameron Colley

    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.

  65. Gav

    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.

  66. Robert Long

    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.

  67. Anonymous Coward


    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!

  68. scott

    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.,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.

  69. Steve

    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.

  70. Steve
    Thumb Down

    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.

  71. Tony Paulazzo

    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...


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

    Tony F Paulazzo.

  72. scott

    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.

  73. Mark SPLINTER

    Andrew Heenan for PM

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

  74. Ishkandar

    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 !!

  75. Chris Morrison

    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


  76. multipharious

    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 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...

  77. richard

    Only going after these

    Because they got bored 4x4 bashing.

  78. Anonymous Coward

    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.

  79. Colin Millar
    Thumb Down

    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.

  80. A J Stiles

    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).

  81. Jeremy Birch

    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?

  82. Shinobi87
    Thumb Down

    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!

  83. Tim
    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! :-)

  84. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  85. 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

  86. A J Stiles

    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.

  87. Anonymous Coward
    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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