Barnsley Council is proposing to put in place a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) to prevent people using disposable barbecues, fires, fireworks and sky lanterns on moorland in Barnsley to help prevent wildfires.
The proposals would cover all publicly-accessible moorland areas in the borough (subject to the agreement of private landowners).
The purpose of the proposed PSPO is to reduce the risk of wildfires in Barnsley. Barbeques, fires and fireworks, and all have the potential to cause fires and at particular risk of fire is Barnsley’s peat moorlands. The recent high temperatures and fires across the South Yorkshire region have highlighted the importance of reducing fire risk as much as we possibly can.
Healthy peatlands which are in a good condition absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Maintaining our peatlands in a good condition helps us to ensure this carbon stays stored within the ground. Unhealthy, damaged peatlands emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Protecting our peatlands is an essential part of our progress towards a net-zero carbon borough.
There are other reasons why it is important to protect peatlands from fires. Recent wildfires in neighbouring authorities have caused great costs to landowners and emergency services and smoke from wildfires can also have a negative impact on air quality many miles away.
The PSPO would mean that anyone lighting a fire, fireworks or disposable barbeque in publicly-accessible moorland areas would be committing a criminal offence.
PSPOs can potentially be enforced by both authorised local authority personnel and the police. Any breach of the order is a criminal offence which can be discharged via fixed penalty notice (£100) or up to £1,000 fine upon prosecution.
Cllr Robert Frost, Cabinet spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture, said: “We all have a part to play in protecting the greenspaces in our borough for future generations and helping Barnsley to meet its aspirations to become net zero by 2045.
“We want to hear local people and organisations’ views on the proposed Public Space Protection Order which we believe is the right move to prevent damaging and dangerous wildfires, and to protect our important peatlands.
“Please take a moment to fill in our survey which you can find at barnsley.gov.uk/HaveYourSay and give us your views on the proposed PSPO.”
The consultation will run from Monday 1 August 2022 until Sunday 2 October 2022 and can be found here.