Should disposable barbecues be banned in public places?

Disposable barbecues have been banned across a swath of open countryside in Hampshire and Dorset after a campaign led by the New Forest national park authority.

The move to ban the sale of disposable barbecues began last May in the wake of a catastrophic fire in Wareham Forest, Dorset, which burned slow worms and lizards alive and damaged more than 200 hectares (500 acres) of the site of special scientific interest. The fire was thought to have been caused by a disposable barbecue or a campfire.

Disposable barbecues are increasingly popular. In just one weekend last summer in the New Forest national park alone, rangers working with the fire service extinguished more than 60 unsafe barbecues, many of which had been left unattended.

In addition to the danger of fires, there is also the issue of smoke from BBQ’s billowing over others which can be deemed as anti-social behaviour.

Additional risks with disposable barbecues

There are risks with using any charcoal barbecue but there are additional risks to using disposable barbecues:

  • As they are portable, they may be used in unsuitable locations such as under trees or near long grass, bushes or fences which may easily catch fire
  • The bottom of the barbecue is foil and can get extremely hot, so there is potential to damage the ground underneath
  • They can easily tip over
  • They may take several hours to cool down and so are often left whilst still hot
  • If they are placed in a bin before they are completely cool they may set the bin or rubbish bag alight.
  • Barbecues produce carbon monoxide which is toxic and using them in a non-ventilated area can be fatal.

What are your views? Have you ever used a disposable barbecue? Would you take one with you on a picnic? Do you believe them to be dangerous enough to be banned?

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