Brits face disposable BBQ ban this summer as Government cracks down on wildfires

4 April 2022, 15:33

Disposable barbecues could be banned across England this summer
Disposable barbecues could be banned across England this summer. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

Disposable barbecues could be banned across England this summer in a Government crackdown to slash the risk of wildfires.

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Environment minister Victoria Prentis revealed the Government has commissioned research into the risks associated with the summertime favourite, which could prompt a nationwide ban.

According to latest Home Office data, disposable barbecues account for 4 per cent of serious accidental blazes every year.

"Disposable barbecues, if used correctly, do not, in themselves, pose a wildfire risk," Ms Prentis said.

"It is when they are left unattended, or used recklessly, that the risk occurs.

"It is clear to me that we do not have enough data on the role that disposable barbecues play in wildfire incidents. 

"However, anecdotal evidence… suggests that they have been responsible for a number of serious incidents."

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Her comments come after supermarkets Waitrose and Aldi announced last month they would no longer be stocking and selling disposable barbecues due to their impact on the environment and wildlife.

Aldi said the move would save around 35 tonnes of single-use waste packaging a year and urging shoppers to invest in more environmentally friendly options such as mini portable barbecues.

Waitrose estimated the ban would save about 70,000 disposable barbecues from being sold per year and prevent 7.4 tonnes of foil and 1.1 tonnes of shrink-wrap plastic being produced a year.

Bans on BBQs are already in place in certain places across the UK where local councils enforce Public Space Protection Orders, including a new rule which prohibits barbecues on beaches in Brighton with rule breakers facing fines of up to £100.

The Brighton ban will also cover barbecues in parks and balloon and lantern releases in public spaces after concerns were raised over their effect on wildlife and the environment.

Several national parks have also brought in bans on disposable barbecues in recent years, including the New Forest.

MPs have echoed their support for a ban with Labour MP Holly Lynch telling the Commons that firefighters in West Yorkshire had already attended 75 wildfires this year, with most of them caused by "careless and reckless use" of disposable barbecues.

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"The suffering inflicted on wildlife as a consequence of such fires is one of the greatest tragedies of this particular problem," she said.

"These fires also put a tremendous strain on our emergency services. I appreciate banning the sale of disposable barbecues sounds like a big step.

"However, I think I have been clear in outlining the scale of the problem and the devastation caused, which warrants consideration of ways we can manage the risk up to and including a ban on their sale."

The potential ban comes after councils crackdown on summer fun including drinking beer on the beach with one local authority handing out £100 fines to anyone caught with a bottle.

City council bosses are enforcing strict rules along the beaches in Kent, from Herne Bay to Whitstable this summer starting with banning BBQs, beer bottles, overnight camping, carrying catapults, and for dangerous cycling along the 14-mile seafront.

Councillor Ashley Clark, the authority's lead member for enforcement, said it was not an attempt to "kill fun" but was necessary to "make residents feel safer and happier about where they live".