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Use of disposable barbecues

Volume 679: debated on Tuesday 1 September 2020

The Petition of Kate Collison and Janette Duke, residents of the New Forest District in Hampshire,

Declares that the use of disposable barbecues and their careless abandonment are a proven cause of wild fires; further declares that such wild fires not only risk human life but also cause devastation to wildlife and their habitat; notes that single use disposable barbecues comprise a tin foil tray filled with impregnated ‘easy light’ charcoal with a wire mesh over; further notes that they are lightweight, can easily be carried to beauty spots, wildlife reserves, and beaches, and can be purchased for as little as £1.99 per unit; further notes they have no integral frame support so can be sat directly on the ground causing damage once lit; further notes they emit dangerous carbon monoxide fumes not only during use but also during the cooling process; further notes that whilst they are easy to carry prior to use they are almost impossible to carry away for many hours after use whilst they remain hot, meaning they are often left as litter with devastating consequences; further notes reports that fire services across the country have shown that these abandoned barbecues have been found in the areas where devastating fires have occurred, for example, Wareham Forest, which in May 2020, despite the efforts of 150 firefighters, burned for more than 3 days and devastated 470 acres of heath and woodland, with 11 portable barbecues subsequently found in the burn area; further notes that Chinese sky lanterns, which can pose a similar threat to wildlife and their habitat, were once seen as acceptable but are now recognised as irresponsible and dangerous; and further notes the related petitions on this matter from the same petitioners, which collectively have over 9,000 signatures.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to consider a ban on the sale of single use disposable barbecues within the United Kingdom.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Dr Julian Lewis, Official Report, 30 June 2020; Vol. 678, c. 291.]


Observations from the Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Rebecca Pow):

The Government would like to thank Kate Collison and Janette Duke, residents of the New Forest, for their petition urging the Government to consider a ban on the sale of single use disposable barbecues within the United Kingdom.

The Government share the concern of the petitioners about the careless use of disposable barbeques, and the associated risk of wildfires and threat to wildlife and the natural environment.

The Countryside Code, published by Natural England, includes clear messages not to have barbecues or light fires when outdoors in the countryside. It can be found online at:

Defra is working with rural organisations to promote a series of guidance videos to educate users about accessing the countryside safely. These reinforce messages in the Countryside Code and highlight the risks of using barbecues. These videos are disseminated over social media, including Twitter and Facebook.

In terms of legal powers, current byelaw legislation allows for local authorities to restrict and enforce the use of disposable barbecues in parks and public spaces. The Government are aware that some local authorities have already made use of byelaws to ban disposable barbecues or sky lanterns.

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 provides powers for local authorities to introduce Public Spaces Protection Orders. Orders can be introduced in a specific public place where the local authority is satisfied on reasonable grounds that certain conditions have been met. These require that:

Activities have taken place that have had a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality, or it is likely that activities will take place and that they will have a detrimental effect.

The effect or likely effect of these activities;

Is or is likely to be persistent or continuing in nature

Is, or is likely to be, unreasonable

Justifies the restrictions being imposed.

Providing these tests are met, these powers can be used to introduce orders on the use of disposable barbecues.