The use of BBQs in the Peak District and other grasslands, heathland and woodland, could be putting wildlife at risk, warn campaigners.
Toby Perkins, MP for Chesterfield, has been contacted by wildlife campaigners worried about the wildfires caused by the misuse of disposable BBQs.
Toby Perkins MP said, “Since 2007, it is estimated that over 77 square kilometres of moorland in the Peak District alone has been destroyed as a result of wildfires, many of which were caused through disposable BBQs. I want people to be able to enjoy a visit to the Peak District, and I appreciate that a BBQ on a day out in the countryside can be very attractive.
But people need to be responsible both during the barbecue and after it has been used. No-one wants a draconian ban of these things, but that will be an option that is called for if people don’t dispose of them responsibly. People must know that not disposing of these BBQs correctly can have disastrous consequences for wildlife and take up huge Firefighting resources at a time when we need our emergency services focussed on fighting unpreventable fires.”
Figures from the British Mountaineering Council (BMC), who have launched a campaign to raise awareness on these issues, suggest that there were 137 wildfires larger than 25 hectares recorded in the UK in 2019, up from just 16 in 2013. BMS figures also state that for the weekend of 30 May 2020 more than 20 significant moorland and grassland fires were reported with devastating affects to some of our most iconic landscapes in areas such as the Yorkshire Dales, the New Forest and the Peak District.
Toby added, “I have written to the Environment Secretary and urged the Government to instigate a public campaign to make people aware of these issues. I’m also calling for stronger enforcement actions against people who act negligently and cause wildfires.”