Somerset MP says “Ban barbecues”

Ian Liddell-Grainger today called for a ban on the sale of portable barbecues. This follows The Met Office saying that the period January to June this year was the driest in England since 1976. So far the month of July has been the driest in England since 1911 with only 24% of average rainfall for the month. On Tuesday (26 July) the Environment Agency convened the National Drought Group. This is made up of senior decision makers from:

  • Environment Agency,
  • government,
  • water companies,
  • Water UK,
  • the NFU and
  • environmental protection groups including the Angling Trust and Rivers Trust

The group discussed the current situation and agreed actions to protect water resources and the environment in the UK in the weeks ahead. Harvey Bradshaw, Environment Agency executive director for the environment and chair of the NDG, noted: “We are working very closely with water companies, farmers and other water users to manage the current situation. Today’s meeting was an important step in agreeing joint actions to protect our water resources with further dry weather forecasted for August, including ever-closer working to monitor and manage water supplies and the environment.

Ian Liddell-Grainger says portable barbecues, usually sold for a few pounds, currently pose an unacceptable fire risk. The MP says the barbecues cannot be considered safe to use anywhere in the countryside. Or even in
gardens for that matter. “We saw what happened in Essex during the heatwave when a fire in a compost heap eventually spread to properties, with devastating results…. My greatest fear is that the careless use of a barbecue at some countryside beauty spot could lead to an environmental disaster.”

Mr Liddell-Grainger’s Bridgwater and West Somerset constituency includes the Quantock Hills and most of Exmoor. Both are heavily-frequented by tourists. And the response times for the fire service are another concern the MP raised: “It has to be remembered that fire service response times to remote beauty spots are necessarily longer than in urban areas. A fire crew may take 15 or 20 minutes to reach a location in the middle of Exmoor. More than enough time for a minor fire to have developed into a major one

One comment

  • This is the first time I have seen evidence of Ian Liddell-Granger making a sensible comment!

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