Each year, moorland fires have a devastating effect on wildlife, livestock and people, and can often destroy the underlying peat that is crucial in our fight against climate change. Worldwide, peatland contains more than 550 gigatonnes of carbon, twice as much carbon as all of the world’s forests.
We’re calling on government to make the use of disposable barbecues on open moorland a criminal offence with a severe penalty attached for anyone in breach of this.
Fires burn for days or weeks, can re-ignite and require significant human and financial resources, all at a significant public cost. Moorland firefighting alone costs the UK economy over a million pounds each year and in some areas, threaten millions of pounds of peatland restoration work as well as exposing millions of people to dangerous levels of polluted air.
Moorland fires are easily started by people lighting disposable barbeques but visitors enjoying the moors may not realise that they have started a fire or may choose to ignore warning signs.There were 137 wildfires larger than 25 hectares recorded in the United Kingdom in 2019, compared to only 16 in 2013.
Over the weekend of 30 May 2020, more than 20 significant moorland and grassland fires were reported with devastating affects to some of our most iconic landscapes in areas such as the Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales and the New Forest. Since 2007, it is estimated that over 77km2 of moorland in the Peak District alone, has been destroyed as a result of wildfires, many of which were caused through disposable BBQs.
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The BMC believe the time has come for stronger national legislation to prevent this happening and to protect our moorland landscapes. Currently the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW), local by-laws and local protection orders govern fires on open moorland but stronger legislation is needed.
People travelling from urban to rural areas or holidaying far from home are unlikely to be aware of local restrictions. A blanket, easy to understand and countrywide restriction will be more effective in deterring visitors from using them in public spaces.
We need your help
With your help, we wish to call on Parliaments in England and Wales to outline national legislation setting out stricter penalties and better enforcement.
Help us protect our beautiful moorlands for future generations and protect this vital resource in the fight against climate change.
Write to your MP
Please send this letter to your MP to ask them to support this request. We would like this issue to receive widespread political support and lead to strong legislation making it illegal to ignite a disposable BBQ in any public space.
NoMoorBBQs is a BMC campaign, and is part of The Climate Project.
As the climbing walls, crags and mountains start to open, we wanted to say thanks to every BMC member who supported us through the Coronavirus crisis.
From weekly Facebook Lives and GB Climbing home training videos, to our access team working to re-open the crags and fight for your mountain access, we couldn’t have made it without you.
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