Matlock Town Council urges district not to lift ban on barbecues and fires in parks and open spaces

Matlock Town Council has called on its district counterpart not to lift a ban on barbecues and fires on moorland and open spaces around the town, fearing the potential of accidental blazes to devastate precious landscapes.

Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 2:39 pm

On Monday, November 15, town councillors debated their response to Derbyshire Dales District Council’s ongoing consultation about updates to its Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs).

The current rules allow police and council staff to issue £100 penalties to anyone engaged in certain antisocial behaviours on council land, including a prohibition on barbecues at 44 sites.

The new regime would see that rule applied only at Stanton Moor, with district council officers arguing that PSPOs must be evidence-based, and that the only three fires recorded on PSPO land in 2020 were at Stanton.

Proponents of the ban fear the potential for fire to spread across the Derbyshire Dales landscape.

But town councillor David Hughes, who leads on environment policy, persuaded colleagues to back his statement supporting the ban.

It said: “Matlock Town Council is concerned that the district council is proposing to remove PSPOs banning BBQs and fires except on Stanton Moor, and recommends it reconsiders this action, reinstating the PSPOs.

“We believe the district council has ignored the impact of the present signage on behaviour and is concerned that its removal will result in a greater number of fires in sensitive locations.”

It added: “Matlock Town Council is also concerned that the only risk or impact assessment carried out concerned the legality of the action taken. It did not consider the environmental impact of any fires that may result which could be substantial.

“An impact assessment may have shown that although the increased risk may be relatively low, the impact could be very large, and hence PSPOs are required.”

A district spokesperson said: “People can use the consultation to state if they agree or disagree with the proposal to remove the order banning open fires and barbecues on council land where there is no evidence or reports of incidents taking place.

“Both Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service and Derbyshire Constabulary support this course of action, but we urge residents to have their say at derbyshiredales.gov.uk/PSPO before the consultation closes on November 22.”

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