Call to ban barbecues to help save Lancashire moorland from further fires

The huge plume of smoke rises over Rivington Moor during the height of the fire in June last year
The huge plume of smoke rises over Rivington Moor during the height of the fire in June last year
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A local business has called for disposable barbecues to be banned to prevent further damage to the region’s moorland.

Rivington Moor, near Chorley, was hit by a fire in March this year, and was ravaged by a huge blaze in June 2018.

Meanwhile, Ilkley Moor, in West Yorkshire, saw two fires over the Bank Holiday weekend – despite laws having been in place since 1900 prohibiting citizens from having fires on the moor. Firefighters tackled the blazes for several days to control the damage, but a number of eyewitnesses were appalled to report that there were still thrill-seekers holding barbecues in the area.

Local business and recycling & waste disposal experts, BusinessWaste.co.uk, have called for the disposable barbecues – often costing as little as two or three pounds – to be banned.

Bosses say there are a number of downsides to using the cheap grills – not least of which is their throwaway nature, which (combined with their cheap price) means they perpetuate the harmful ‘single-use’ culture which threatens the environment. They also contain charcoal, which is normally unsustainably sourced, contributing to the ‘desertification’ of forest, and cannot be recycled or composted, meaning that for each one sold in the UK each year – estimated at over a million – there is new waste committed to landfill.

Mark Hall, communications director of BusinessWaste.co.uk, said: “One supermarket chain alone sold 300,000 disposable barbecues last year – that means there are likely over a million of them sold each year, each one contributing to ruining forests for charcoal and adding to piles of waste in landfill. While most people will dispose of them safely, even a small percentage failing to do so could have drastic consequences for the local flora and fauna. Banning them wouldn’t mean the end of the great British barbecue – but it would mean the end of a throwaway attitude to something which can do real harm.”

The business has called for ‘swift and decisive’ action to be taken by some of the biggest retailers across the UK, including Tesco, Booths and Co-op. BusinessWaste.co.uk say that a move to immediately ban the sale of these items will reduce anti-social behaviour, cut down on littering, and show a real commitment to improving both their local and national green credentials.

To date no response has been provided.

Mr Hall added: “It’s truly heartbreaking to see huge areas of British countryside damaged due to the thoughtless and selfish actions of a few – and we would strongly urge retailers to reconsider selling disposable BBQs, which are very often the source of wildfires.

“Items which are not only environmentally unfriendly due to their packaging and disposal, but also repeatedly cause enormous, irreparable damage to our countryside should be banned without question, and it is our duty to champion that cause.”