Bradford Council has brought in a new Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) which bans barbeques, fires, sky lanterns, fireworks and other dangerous items from moorland across the district. The PSPO came in to force on Monday 1 July and will run for three years before it is reviewed.
There were 72 responses to the mandatory four week consultation and 97% were in support of the implementation of the PSPO.
The council sought to bring in the ban in the aftermath of recent wildfires on Ilkley Moor and at Marsden Moor in Kirklees.
Ilkley Moor is owned by Bradford Council and wildfires pose a considerable cost in terms of resources deployed by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS), the Council, West Yorkshire Police and other agencies, not to mention the environmental damage and risk to property.
Bradford Council has been working for some time looking at ways to reduce the impacts of wildfires in the district including working in partnership with the South Pennine Fire Operations Group, which brings together neighbouring local authorities, fire and rescue services, major landowners and land managers.
As part of this approach and in line with neighbouring authorities, Bradford Council has now implemented the PSPO which bans barbeques and fires from moorland areas of the Bradford district.
Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “We have some of the country’s best moorland in Bradford District so it’s important we all play our part in keeping it safe so it can be enjoyed by everyone.”
Danny Jackson, Bradford Council’s Countryside and Rights of Way Manager, said: “Our moorlands are a precious resource and the impacts of wildfire are devastating and can last for significant amounts of time. We want people to enjoy these areas but at the same time people need to be responsible and respect the moors. This Public Space Protection Order, which bans barbeques and fires in these area, sends a clear and strong message that, especially at times of hot, dry weather, we cannot take any chances and must reduce the risk of wildfire as much as we can.
“We depend on the vigilance of people who are out and about in our beautiful landscape to help us to protect it.”
WYFRS District Commander for Bradford, Benjy Bush, said: “We want the public to be able to enjoy the countryside this summer and we do not wish to ruin anyone’s fun. However, the impact of wildfires on local communities can be considerable, as can the impact on both the natural environment and the local economy where fires occur in areas where visitors may spend time. We welcome this move by Bradford Council to help protect our countryside.
“Fires on moorland can spread incredibly quickly and pose an immediate threat to anyone in the nearby area and potentially could threaten nearby properties.
“These fires take a considerable amount of Fire Service time and resources to extinguish and we have seen a handful of these types of fires already this year.”
To help reduce the chances of wildfire:
• do not discard cigarettes in the countryside – dispose of smoking materials properly and make sure they are completely extinguished
• always clear away bottles, glasses and any broken glass to avoid them magnifying the sun and starting a fire
• if you see smoke or fire on the moors always contact the Fire Service immediately – dial 999 (don’t assume it’s already been reported)
The ‘restricted areas’ defined in the Order include all publicly accessible moorland within the Bradford district including Bradford Council owned and privately owned land, where people have a right of access.
The PSPO which will be enforced by authorised council staff and the police, prohibits fires, barbecues, sky lanterns and fireworks or using any article which causes a naked flame and which poses a risk of fire on the affected land, subject to a fixed penalty notice and a fine not exceeding £100 if they do not comply with a request to extinguish and surrender such articles.
Unpaid fines may lead to prosecution in the Magistrates Court and could lead to a fine of up to £2,500.
The PSPO does not include Bradford Council owned parks and woodlands as these are already covered by by-laws and the evidence of risk and incidents is lower on these sites than on moorland.