Banning Patio Heaters

Last year the Daily Mail ran an April Fool's Day article in which it claimed that Brits would have to pay a "carbon offset" tax if they wanted to barbecue in their backyards:

IT IS one of the timeless rituals of the new globally-warmed great British summer: firing up the barbecue and slinging on a steak. But people who choose to burn charcoal may have to think twice as councils now have swingeing new powers to force homeowners to buy 'carbon offsets' before they light up or face a Pounds 50 fine. The measures, which have been approved by the Climate Change Unit of the Department of Environment, Fisheries and Rural Affairs, are likely to severely curtail the number of barbecues Britons enjoy this summer...

A spokesman for B&Q said last night that they were looking at producing new 'green' barbecues to cut down CO2 emissions. One idea is to harness the warmth created by rotting compost, but these would require a chef to start cooking days in advance. So-called 'friction barbecues' powered by a guest on a stationary exercise bike are also being examined.

Yesterday, in a case of an April Fool's Day joke almost becoming reality, the European Union announced that it was considering banning patio heaters in order to protect the environment:

Fiona Hall, a Liberal Democrat MEP, has led the calls for the ban, which is expected to be endorsed by the parliament in Brussels.
"Patio heaters are scandalous because they are burning fossil fuels in the open sky, so producing vast quantities of CO2 with very little heat benefit," she said.
But the proposal has been attacked by publicans, who say bars and pubs need the heaters for customers driven outside by smoking bans.

The two aren't exactly the same (barbecues vs. patio heaters), but pretty close. Here in Southern California we love our patio heaters. The slightest chill in the air prompts us to fire them up, so we can continue sitting outside. It would hurt to have to give them up.

April Fools Day Law/Police/Crime

Posted on Fri Feb 01, 2008


Life imitates art?
Posted by KDP  in  Madill, OK, USA  on  Fri Feb 01, 2008  at  01:15 PM
The main retailers who stocked these things in the UK said a while ago they would stop selling them.

If it's cold outside... excuse me if this is a a bit radical... GO INSIDE and stop fucking the planet up.

Just a thought.
Posted by Peter  on  Fri Feb 01, 2008  at  03:41 PM
Thatcher! Coal Mines! Wales! Own us a living rabble rabble rabble!!!
Posted by Caio  in  BC, Canada  on  Fri Feb 01, 2008  at  04:50 PM
Even if I agree that they are the most inefficient, relatively polluting type of heaters, I could see their point in street caf
Posted by Harry  in  Belgium  on  Sun Feb 03, 2008  at  04:30 AM
The patio heater ban has been raising some major hackles in the United Kingdom. Seems they weren't that popular until all indoor smoking was banned in public places. Then they were used to heat the outdoor areas that bars, restaurants, etc. were providing for their smoking patrons.

So many are seeing this as an on-going persecution of smokers. Really, some people are going to smoke, despite the risks, so why not let said businesses legally set aside indoor areas for them?
Posted by Captain DaFt  on  Sun Feb 03, 2008  at  09:48 PM
I'm tired: I misread the heading of this as 'banning potato healers' and thought it was going to be a follow-up on the prohibition of the use of pareidolic potatoes in faith healing. Oh well.
Posted by outeast  on  Mon Feb 04, 2008  at  01:52 AM

Winter's not warm
except on my patio.
I'm the world's center.

You'll breathe my exhaust
Until the ice caps dissolve;
I couldn't care less.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Chicken, Alaska  on  Mon Feb 04, 2008  at  02:43 PM
Paddy O'Heater, in the fifth, to show. Betcha
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Mon Feb 04, 2008  at  11:15 PM
I'm sorry, but using a patio heater at basically any time of the year in Southern California is just weak. I live in Minneapolis, which also has a smoking ban, and we don't turn the patio heaters on until it gets below freezing. Other than the mountains, does it ever get below freezing in California?

A much better idea would be to dress for the damn temperature, or maybe even buy a coat. I've seen them for sale in California, so they're presumably available. The secret is that, aside from looking good, they also keep you warm.
Posted by Natalie  in  Minneapolis  on  Wed Feb 06, 2008  at  09:13 AM
Um, Natalie, I went back and double-checked the article and posts, how did you confuse Great Britain and California?
Posted by Captain DaFt  on  Wed Feb 06, 2008  at  08:20 PM
Captain DaFt, I think Natalie was responding to Alex's editorial remark that 'Here in Southern California we love our patio heaters [and] The slightest chill in the air prompts us to fire them up...' Gotta admit, I found that pretty shocking too in this day and age.

Whether they should be banned in Europe - where outside winter temperatures can drop well below freezing - is moot (I tend to be more in favour of taxing things like this out of existance than banning them outright).

As to this being persecution of smokers... that's daft, DaFt. This is European legislation, right? Not all countries have smoking bans: where I live, the smokers choke out the insides of pubs and restaurants so it would be nonsmokers and (still more) families that would be most disadvantaged by a heater ban.
Posted by outeast  on  Thu Feb 07, 2008  at  01:13 AM
The big problem with the outdoor patio heaters here in the UK are that pubs keep them on at full blast from 11 am to 11 pm every day. And not just one...some places heat the whole of a beer garden with them. And they are so inefficient (I'm reminded of my Nan asking me, if I left a door ajar, 'What are you trying to do, heat the whole outdoors?'), especially in a country with such high energy prices (we have a small flat, and we pay over
Posted by Edward  on  Tue Feb 12, 2008  at  08:16 AM
can you just imagine the enforcement effort required to ban humans from using fire?? Fire was probably one of the first tools humans ever developed, and it would be darn hard to stop us from doing it now. I grew up in Southern California, and they tried (or maybe did) to get laws banning outdoor barbeques to reduce air pollution. There were thoughts of doing enforcement by satellite or by airplanes. Ultimately the difficulty of enforcement together with the altogther impossibility of getting people to stop cooking and eating food made the whole thing into a joke.
Posted by Eric G  in  Arnaudville LA  on  Wed Feb 13, 2008  at  09:38 AM
Patio Heaters may be a good thing to others but for others they are just electricity consuming, especially on those who don't really need them
Posted by List of infrared heater manufacturers  on  Wed Mar 12, 2008  at  09:38 PM
a ban on patio heaters is saying people don't have right to decide when to use energy for recreation. people use far more energy joyriding and going places that are unncessary or for entertainment purposes. are they going to ban that too? patio heaters use a tiny amount of energy compared to american vice of consumption for recreational -unnecessary activities, what about heated pools and jacuzzis, sports, parks,recreational vehicles, music venues, bars, and even restaraunts themselves use lots of energy and are for enjoyment. especially riding to and from these places. are they going to ban all that as well? most people don't have patio heaters. most people that do are only going to use them for a short time, except places like restaraunts with outside area, but they can't use too much energy or they would go out of business,
when people cut back on recreation, businesses will cut back on things like patio heaters to pay the bills, the economy will force change without banning anything,because eventually, inefficient and hedonistic people and businesses will go broke.
Posted by nat  in  columbus ga  on  Mon Nov 16, 2009  at  12:11 PM
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