Marks & Spencer takes disposable barbecues off UK shelves amid wildfire risk

·3-min read
The scene after a blaze in the village of Wennington, east London (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)
The scene after a blaze in the village of Wennington, east London (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)

Fire service chiefs have welcomed a move from another major supermarket to stop selling disposable barbecues amid wildfires linked to the hot weather.

London Fire Brigade (LFB) last week called for a total ban after facing one of the busiest periods in its history during a record-breaking heatwave.

Marks & Spencer announced on Wednesday that it had taken the “precautionary step” of removing disposable barbecues from sale across the UK.

It had already stopped selling disposable barbecues near national parks and in London in an effort to protect open spaces and reduce the risk of fires.

LFB described the action by Marks & Spencer as “good news”.

It tweeted: “We want to work with retailers to stop the sale of disposable barbecues and reduce the risk of dangerous grass fires.”

The supermarket tweeted: “At M&S we want to help protect open spaces and reduce the risk of fires.

“We’d already stopped selling disposable barbecues near national parks and in London but given the unusually hot and dry conditions, we’ve taken the precautionary step of removing them from sale across the UK.”

The Co-op announced in June last year it would no longer sell disposable barbecues in 130 shops situated in or within a one-mile radius of national parks, while in March this year Aldi said it would no longer sell the items in any of its UK supermarkets in a bid to protect the nation’s forests and wildlife.

LFB said that in the week of July 18 – during which a record-breaking temperature of 40.3C was reached in Coningsby in Lincolnshire – it received 8,302 calls and attended 3,231 incidents.

It said that in that period the number of 999 calls received was more than double taken for the same period last year and that 34 grass fires required an attendance of four fire engines or more.

LFB has warned that disposable barbecues “pose a significant fire risk if they are not put out properly, causing grass fires in open spaces and scorching the grassed areas”.

It added that dry weather has “left grassland like a tinderbox and increases the chances of a fire caused by a disposable barbecue” and said despite the temperature not being as high, grasslands “will still be extremely dry”.

People have been urged not to barbecue in parks and to ensure cigarettes, rubbish and glass are properly disposed of.

LFB is backing a petition to Parliament to bring in a complete ban on the sale and use of disposable barbecues in the UK.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting