TORBAY Council is stepping up the fight against 'legal highs' being sold in shops.
Deputy Mayor Dave Thomas told a meeting of the full council it was 'completely wrong' for shops to be selling the substances.
According to a report from the Centre for Social Justice, 52 people in the UK died from legal highs in 2012. The issue has hit the national headlines and in Torquay the family of one teenage boy who was left critically ill have warned of the health dangers.
So-called 'legal highs' are officially New Psychoactive Substances which can be legally sold to over-18s because the labelling warns customers they are 'not fit for human consumption'.
Cllr Thomas said: "It is completely wrong we can have shops in Torbay which can legally sell items to young people when they know it is going to do harm to that person.
"It is completely morally wrong to do that and it is up to us and other people to make it legally wrong."
His views were endorsed by the council and the mayor and the council resolved to write to the Home Secretary, the police and Crime Commissioner and the two local MPs to outline the council's position.
The council wants the government to give new powers to local authorities and police to enforce amended legislation.
The motion was agreed on a busy night of council decision making at the Riviera International Conference Centre.
Mayor Gordon Oliver asked the transport working party to consider a plea by Cllr Darren Cowell to reverse the traffic flow into Torquay through Torre.
Cllr Cowell said the 'simple reversal' needs to take place quickly to boost economic activity in the town. He said it was a 'nonsense' vehicles heading to the town centre are being diverted.
"There is even a sign for Teignmouth," he said. He said delays in waiting for funding could mean it is 2016 before the changes are made, at which point 'shops could have closed'.
Cllr Ian Doggett proposed a motion that some of the billions earmarked for the High Speed 2 rail link should be used to modernise the south west rail system. Mayor Oliver said he had a lot of sympathy with Cllr Doggett's views about under-investment and heavy usage of the south west network, but said the costs of a new line would be high.
He agreed to pass the matter to the transport working party to consider opposition to the government scheme.
In other matters councillors discussed and agreed the setting up of a youth trust for the Bay run by the voluntary and community sector.
And members of the public could be seeing a lot more of councillors after a decision to investigate streaming a live webcast of the next council meeting to coincide with Democracy Week from October 14 to 18.
The idea is to widen the audience and promote democracy, but will depend on finding the free services of a broadcaster — possibly a school or college — for the one-off experiment.
Cllr Dave Butt issued a word of caution that some councillors might see it as a chance to 'showboat', but there was an overwhelming majority in favour.