Those starting grass fires should be locked up says assembly member

People starting grass fires should be given tougher sentences - including being sent to jail Wales' Public Services Minister will be told later today.

In an urgent question at the Welsh Assembly the member for South East Wales, William Graham will call for a review of how the police and courts deal with people setting hillsides and grassland deliberately alight.

We need really meaningful deterrents and that means custodial sentences. Arson has serious penalties and in my view these grass fires are arson. This is a crime against property and the environment - birds and small animals are being destroyed.

William Graham AM
A grass fire on Machen Mountain. Credit: Francesca Godfrey

Mr Graham, who represents Valleys areas which have seen around 700 grass fires this month alone, will ask the minister Leighton Andrews to give a statetment on initiatives to "tackle the alarming rate of deliberate grass fires."

Mr Graham says grass fires are getting worse and a message needs to be given out that starting them is wrong and a prison sentence is a real possibility.

Mr Graham told ITV Cymru Wales that the law is "not being sufficiently applied" and discussions need to take place with the judiciary when it comes to sentencing guidelines for those over the age of 18.

Children and juveniles should receive more and better education he says.