Marks and Spencer to no longer sell disposable barbecues anywhere in the UK

Disposable barbecues are a fire risk, especially when used on dry ground. Credit: AP/PA

Marks and Spencer (M&S) is to stop selling disposable barbecues across the whole of the UK due to the risks presented by the "unusually hot and dry conditions".

There have been mounting calls to ban the sale of disposable barbecues after they were blamed for starting wildfires in England during the unprecedented heatwave in July.

M&S had already stopped selling disposable barbecues near national parks and in London but have decided to impose a nationwide ban as a "precautionary measure" to ensure greater safety.

It followed moves by Waitrose, Aldi and other retailers which announced they would no longer stock disposable barbecues due to their detrimental impact on the environment and wildlife.

The barbecues are a fire risk, particularly on dry ground, and were cited as the cause of several blazes in England last month amid record temperatures.

These included a serious blaze in Lickey Hills park near Birmingham, and a fire - which could have been major - that was prevented from spreading at Wanstead Flats, east London.

London’s Fire Commissioner Andy Roe warned that “urgent action” was needed to introduce a national ban on the sale of the barbecues, which he said could cause serious harm.

Mr Roe said disposable barbecues “can be bought for as little as £5 and can cause untold damage, especially when the grass is as dry as it has been over the last few weeks”.

He added: “Last week is another example of how we are increasingly being challenged by new extremes of weather as our climate changes and we’re developing long-term strategies to deal with more incidents like this in the future.”

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Disposable barbecues are already banned in Brighton and Hove, where the local council decided to use the threat of a £100 fine for anyone found using one in a public place.

The ban there was imposed after a disposable barbeque was said to be the cause of a large fire at a Brighton tip in summer 2019.

Home Office data shows "about 4% of accidental primary fires can be robustly linked to barbecue use", according to environment minister Victoria Prentis, and the true figure is likely to be even higher.