Litter Free Dorset, the Urban Health Partnership and the Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service have announced a new campaign to help prevent wildfire. The BBQs Burn More than Bangers campaign aims to remind people that BBQs are illegal on heathland and the sobering fact that on average, Dorset is subject to over 100 heathland wildfires a year, a high proportion of which are attributed to a BBQ.
Dorset has over 8,000 hectares of heathland, much of which has been designated as either being a protected area, a conservation area or an area of scientific importance. This is due in part to the high levels of animal and plant biodiversity. They are home to all six of Britain’s native reptile species and many internationally important bird species. Because of this, the heathlands attract a lot of visitors throughout the year, some of whom do not realise that barbecuing on these lands is illegal.
The BBQs Burn More than Bangers campaign hopes to educate visitors of the importance of the heathlands and how dangerous BBQs in these areas can be. Fire crews are still working on damping down parts of Wareham Forest following a fire there recently and as the UK looks to enter a dry summer, it is more important than ever to be responsible and to only have BBQs at home or in a designated area.
Litter Free Dorset recommends that if you are going to have a BBQ in the open, to do so in one of the designated spots. You should also check that your BBQ meets the requirements of your intended destination and that before setting up you make sure you are in a safe area. Once you’re finished, you should extinguish the BBQ properly and let it cool down before packing it away, please also dispose of it correctly and take all your rubbish with you so everyone can enjoy the beautiful open spaces that Dorset has to offer.
Areas that are safe for BBQs include:
- Avon Heath Visitor Centre (the hiring of a fixed BBQ. Portable ones are not allowed.)
- Moors Valley (no disposable BBQs, all portable BBQs must have legs over 20cm and you must stick to the Lakeside and Forest picnic areas.)
- Southbourne Beach (at the eastern end of the Solent Promenade).
- Boscombe Beach (please stick between groyne 24 and 25. There is an electric BBQ available outside the seafront office.)
- Bournemouth East (opposite the base of the Toft pathway)
- Alum Chine Beach (between groynes 3 and 4)
- Sandbanks Beach (check local signage for designated area.)
- Studland Knoll Beach (check local signage for designated area.)
To help protect the Dorset heathlands and to spread love not wildfire, please stick to the approved BBQ areas and only bring picnics to the heathland.
You can find out more about the campaign by watching the short animation below or by visiting Litter Free Dorset.