I believe that people should be free to make their own choices and not bound by unnecessary rules, laws and bureaucracy. Open access to the moorland, right-to-roam, and the Countryside Rights Of Way Act 2000 give people like myself the opportunity to explore and exercise without fear of trespass. And freedom of speech lets me research and write about it, so as a rule, I don’t like to advocate banning things.
However, the disposable BBQ is one such thing that I believe should be banned – not just by local councils that forbid their use in beauty spots, but by being taken off the supermarket shelves completely. Not because people shouldn’t be having BBQs, but because they are potentially lethal and need to be kept out of the hands of irresponsible people.
The idea behind a single-use BBQ is that you take this portable item to any place of your choosing. So, it goes with you to a beauty spot – because where nicer to have a BBQ than a quiet and scenic area, right? It might end up being used at your local country park, campsite or maybe even moorland where you are unlikely to be disturbed. People are doing just that, and not realising – or maybe not caring – that the bottom of the BBQ, when used as instructed, gets white hot, and will start a fire on any grassland in seconds.
Supermarkets unfortunately display disposable BBQs next to the burgers and beers, and for less than a tenner what could be nicer than a cool drink and a BBQ in the sun? The very fact that these items are disposable means they are likely to be left out when hot, as they cannot be disposed of until they have cooled down entirely.
Now more than ever, the resources of the emergency services are being severely stretched. The police can ill-afford to track down and monitor popular moorland spots for misadventure, and the fire services certainly should not be called out for what can sometimes end up being weeks of firefighting to tackle blazes that escalate way out of control and in some instances, continue to smoulder months later.
The warm spring weather we have been enjoying coincides with breeding bird season. The moors are full of endangered species such as Curlew and Lapwing, along with Meadow Pipits, Stonechat and Skylark. Lizards and mammals live here, too. They can be too slow to escape a fire. And the birds are often on the nest, with future generations perishing as their eggs are destroyed in the heat.
I’ve included some links below to a variety of news articles reporting just the kind of things I’ve been talking about, and below those, a link to my petition too. Whether you care about the countryside, nature and wildlife or simply just want to enjoy the outdoors in peace and safety, I urge you to sign it and ensure your voice is heard.
Fires caused by disposable BBQs
We urge supermarkets to halt their sale. We call on local and country councils to prohibit their use. And we call on the government to both halt their sale and forbid their use.