MP calls for ban on disposable barbecues on moorland and beaches

300822 Baggy Point Fire Take Flight Aviation
A large fire at Baggy Point in North Devon was caused by a barbecue Credit: Take Flight Aviation

A Devon MP is calling for disposable barbecues to be banned on open moorland and on beaches to protect the countryside.

Selaine Saxby, MP for North Devon, is also calling for them to be banned in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

She said she is “not proposing to ban the great British barbecue” but instead “make sure we can all enjoy our beautiful beaches and countryside safely without damaging them”.

It comes after multiple serious fires broke out in the South West over the summer due to disposable barbecues.

One of the worst was at Baggy Point, in North Devon, where more than five and a half hectares were scorched.

The blaze destroyed the habitat of several species and experts warned it will take the land years to recover.

  • Watch the fire at Baggy Point

Selaine Saxby said rising temperatures combined with droughts this summer “turned the UK into a tinderbox”, adding such conditions are “likely to become more regular”.

“We need to adjust our approach to hot weather and one of the products that causes some of the biggest issues to local communities is disposable barbecues," she added.

“This Bill is not proposing to ban the great British barbecue. Instead it is seeking to make sure we can all enjoy our beautiful beaches and countryside safely without damaging them.

“Whilst disposable barbecues only cost a few pounds, their impact can be so much more than that.

“This Bill is seeking to ban their use in a very limited way to enable local authorities to act where we know that there is a high risk of disposable barbecues causing serious damage.

“We cannot continue to allow the right to scald a sausage anywhere to cause so much damage and destruction, cost so much to our vital public services when dealing with disposal barbecue debris. The time to act is now.”

The long cooling period of single-use barbecues causes issues, she said, adding: “This means people cannot move them when they have finished with them, so leave them still burning, or carry when cool enough to pick up, but still smouldering, to a bin.”

She said local authorities are then left to deal with the litter, which “can damage the grass it is placed on, harm wildlife and if used on sand it heats up and can cause injuries to children and pets”.

Society is “moving away from single-use culture”, the MP said, adding: “We have successful campaigns every summer to educate people about the risks of the water in hot weather. It is time that we similarly take control of the risks that these disposal barbecues cause.”

Her Disposable Barbecues Bill is listed for a second reading on January 20 but is unlikely to become law due to a lack of parliamentary time.