Friday 5 June 2020
Following a spate of damaging recent fires, the Peak District National Park has come together with its partners to announce that barbecues and open fires are not permitted anywhere in open countryside throughout the Peak District.
As landowner permission is required to light or tend a fire, the Authority has said that all major land owners and key landowner representatives within the Peak District have this week confirmed they do not give their permission and so barbecues and open fires are not allowed.
The announcement follows a call from the National Park Authority on Monday 1 June for retailers across the region to voluntarily remove disposable barbecues from retail sale.
A record-breaking spring of prolonged sunshine, hot and dry weather and regular winds has created a perfect storm of conditions for fires in the open landscape.
Within the last week, major blazes have taken place at Bamford Edge, Dovestone and Swineshaw. All are believed to have started from discarded or unattended barbecues.
Teams from the fire and rescue services, national park rangers, the Peak District Moorland Group, farmers and gamekeepers, water companies and conservation charities have all been involved in both tackling the fires and speaking with the public having barbecues.
Major landowners – including the National Park Authority – have now come together to highlight the dangers of open fires in the landscape and leave the public in no doubt that items such as barbecues may not be used on access land or on footpaths in the Peak District. [See list of signatories below.]
Sarah Fowler, chief executive of the Peak District National Park, said: “We’ve all had a really tough few months under Covid-19 restrictions. As lock down has eased getting back into the outdoors and seeking sanctuary in nature is a natural and vital response to support our own recovery.
“Sadly, in recent weeks we have seen an unacceptable increase in discarded and unattended disposable barbecues and fires in open areas and have seen multiple large fires as a result.
“As we return to the countryside we must do so with care, and not damage the very fabric of why we choose to venture into these special places.
“We have welcomed the move by at least a dozen businesses to already remove disposable barbecue units from sale.
“I would like to leave the public in no doubt that having a barbecue or fire in the open countryside of the Peak District National Park puts some of our most loved and treasured landscapes at risk, and is not permitted.”
In response to the recent fires, The Peak District National Park Foundation charity have launched their ‘Fire Fund’ aimed at supporting activities that help in the prevention of fires in the open countryside and those who are involved in tackling them. People can donate at: https://peakdistrict.charitycheckout.co.uk/cf/fire-fund
Amanda Anderson from the Moorland Association said: “It has always been illegal to have a campfire or BBQ on any Open Access land without landowner permission. Privately funded Peak District moorland managers and gamekeepers have fought several fires shoulder to shoulder with the fire service in recent days. It is not acceptable that emergency services be drawn away to deal with avoidable incidents, let alone the damage that uncontrolled fires can have on the important habitats of our Peak District uplands. Enjoying your access with care for the wildlife and the people who depend on it for their livelihoods and call this place home has never been more important.”
Jon Stewart General Manager for the National Trust Peak District said: “We know that in current circumstances people want and need to get back out and enjoy the countryside again – it is so good for our health and wellbeing. We want that too, but please think of others; think of the environment and our precious wildlife; and don’t bring barbecues into the Peak District. It isn’t safe and they lead to huge problems. Enjoy a picnic instead and it is so much easier at the end of the day to tidy up your rubbish and take it home to dispose of properly.”
Alastair Harvey, Lead Countryside & Woodland Advisor at Yorkshire Water, said: “Barbecues are not permitted on Yorkshire Water land as they can have devastating impacts on local wildlife and peatland if they get out of control. We’ve had several issues over the past few weeks with barbecues, including a fire that damaged a bird’s nest in woodland adjacent to our Digley reservoir. Please enjoy your barbecues at home and help us protect our wonderful countryside.”
Derbyshire Fire and Rescue added: Over recent months Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service have dealt with a significant number of Wildfires in the Peak District. Many of these fires have caused significant damage to moorland and required multi-agency response.
Response to Wildfires can be consuming, tying up valuable firefighting resources from across the county and neighbouring services, over numerous days and weeks to extinguish.
General Manager, Steve Wells, explains: “Barbecues and open fires are known to be the main cause of moorland Wildfires. The Fire Service have been working hard to educate and inform the public about the dangers of having barbecues and camp fires on moorland when the ground is dry. Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service fully supports the initiative to prevent the use of disposable barbecues, in order to protect our precious moorland from devastating fires.”
The following alphabetical list of organisations, charities, landowners and land managers have confirmed that barbecues are not permitted on their land:
- Chatsworth Estate
- Derbyshire Dales District Council
- Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service
- Fitzwilliam Wentworth Estate
- Haddon Estate
- High Peak Borough Council
- Moorland Association
- Moors for the Future Partnership
- National Farmers Union
- National Trust
- North East Derbyshire District Council
- Okeover Estate
- Peak District National Park Authority
- Peak District Moorland Group
- Severn Trent Water
- Staffordshire Wildlife Trust
- Stanton Estates
- Tissington Estate
- United Utilities
- Yorkshire Water