The Health Nazis seem to have accidentally shot their Green Brethren in the foot.
It seems that the use of patio heaters (the new 4X4 of the non wheeled domestic world) is set to double over the next year.
Why? The good old law of unintended consequences rearing it’s head again - that's why.
The pointless and unreasonable ban on smoking in English Pubs has meant that smokers must go outside to indulge. It seem that this in turn has led astute landlords to provide patio heaters to make the environment more pleasant for the smokers and thus retain business.
Philip Sellwood, of the (Government established and funded) Energy Saving Trust is complaining: "People are also influencing the larger, more damaging commercial sector, with a third of pub-goers choosing pubs where there is a patio heater.”
"Landlords are helping to make patio heaters desirable - which they are not.", he bemoans.
A survey the trust conducted indicated 31% of people indicated they actually enjoyed sitting outside pubs and would choose one with outdoor heating by preference.
There is also the suggestion that, having discovered the joys of sitting outside having a drink and a ciggy, may be leading to increased sales of the heaters to the private market even amongst non smokers. The number of patio heaters in gardens in the UK is expected to almost double over the next year, a report by the trust suggests.
The largest take up is expected to be in the Yorkshire and Humberside areas. It is not clear if this is because there are more smokers there, it is a little colder in the evenings there, a combination, or some other factor.
Mr Sellwood is calling for “responsible retailers to reconsider the sale of patio heaters in light of the substantial amount of carbon emissions they produce." and the rest of us to wear an extra jumper.
What next? Extra tax on patio heaters, restrict the sale to ‘deserving’ key individuals in the political patrician classes?
Even the Mayor of London ‘Red’ Ken Livingstone is echoing him, betraying his authoritarian leanings and calling for a halt in the spread of "wasteful" patio heaters and urged retailers not to promote them.
How long before he considers forcing a licensing system on Londoners? Maybe one with a sliding scale of costs based on emissions? Though probably entirely unnecessarily, as the expected lowest rate of heater take up was in the East of England.