Laughing gas set to be banned as Havering introduces local laws

Laughing Gas canister in Raphaels Park in Romford

Laughing Gas canister in Raphaels Park in Romford - Credit: Archant

Laughing gas is set to be banned in Havering as the council prepares to introduce local laws.

Laughing Gas canister in Harrow Lodge Park in Hornchurch

Laughing Gas canister in Harrow Lodge Park in Hornchurch - Credit: Archant

Earlier this week Lambeth became the first authority in the country to outlaw the use of nitrous oxide, announcing that anyone seen using the legal high in public would be hit with an on-the-spot fine of up to £1,000.

And Havering now look set to follow suit, a month after borough commander Ch Supt Jason Gwillim warned of the dangers of laughing gas, which is on the rise in the borough.

The gas is inhaled using a balloon or canister and can make people feel relaxed, euphoric and giggly. Abusing it can lead to oxygen deprivation resulting in loss of blood pressure, fainting and heart attacks.

The new Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act allows local authorities to create public space protection orders, essentially giving them the power to create their own laws.

Cllr Osman Dervish, cabinet member for community safety confirmed the plans but said the areas within the borough that laughing gas could be banned in has yet to be determined.

“We have a draft proposal to ban the possession and consumption of so-called “legal highs” as part of a public space protection order,” he said.

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Last month, Dr Mark Feldman, a Harold Hill GP, spoke to the Recorder about the dangers of laughing gas consumption.

“The most dangerous risk is you can become hypoxic,” he said. “If you just breath gas and not oxygen it’s a bit like putting your head in a gas oven. There’s no oxygen going to the brain and it can cause severe damage, or death.

“Canisters are particularly dangerous. Balloons only have one or two breaths but canisters can last about a minute – enough to cause problems.

“There’s also reports in heavy, regular usage of people getting vitamin deficiencies of B12, causing nerve damage.”

It is thought the proposals will also look to ban alcohol consumption in certain areas of the borough.

The full proposals will be produced by the community safety and go before the council chamber in October. A public consultation will follow.

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