Lambeth council last night approved a crackdown on the use of legal highs such as ‘laughing gas’ in the borough.
Lambeth is now the first London borough to introduce a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) to tackle laughing gas as a specific issue.
The move essentially bans the use and supply of legal highs in public areas across the whole borough and means anybody caught breaching the new order could face a maximum fine of £1000.
Cllr Jane Edbrooke, Lambeth’s cabinet member for Neighbourhoods, said: “Legal highs are simply not safe – we saw that just days ago with the death of a teenager who had inhaled laughing gas.
“It is our duty to keep our residents safe and this new order should deter people from supplying and using legal highs in the borough.
“The litter and antisocial behaviour associated with certain legal highs has also blighted areas like Vauxhall and Clapham and now we have the power to do something about it.”
Under the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act 2014, local authorities have the power to come up with their own laws to tackle antisocial behaviour through PSPOs.
Lambeth’s new PSPO is being closely followed by the Home Office Drugs Unit following the advice of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs stating that councils should address antisocial behaviour associated with laughing gas through local court orders.
The new rules come in to force in Lambeth on August 17th.
Lambeth first started receiving complaints from residents regarding laughing gas in the summer of 2014 and monitored incidents closely.
There have been 57 separate reports by police regarding legal highs in the borough over the last 12 months with incidents including robbery, theft, anti-social behaviour and sexual assault.
A month long consultation on the new PSPO ended on July 13th showed that 63% of respondents were in favour of the move.
Lambeth’s cabinet members voted to approve the PSPO at a meeting on Monday 27th July.