£1,000 fines come in for barbecues, campfires and setting off fireworks and lanterns on Lancashire moorland

Fines of up to £1,000 will now be given to people risking wildfires on the regions moors.
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Three local councils along with Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service have joined together to bring in a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) for parts of Chorley, Darwen and Bolton.

The PSPO will ban any activities on moorland that carry a significant risk of causing wildfires – such as lighting barbeques, building or lighting campfires or camping stoves, lighting fireworks, or setting off night-sky paper lanterns.

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Breaching the PSPO is a criminal offence and could result in a fine of up to £1,000.

Winter Hill fire 2018.Winter Hill fire 2018.
Winter Hill fire 2018.

Find out more about the new legal order here

Councillor Bev Murray, Executive Member for Early Intervention at Chorley Council said: “We are so lucky in Chorley to have vast areas of natural beauty to enjoy, and it is so important that we have measures in place to protect them. We have seen first-hand the devastation fires can cause which have lasting effects on our habitats and environment.

“I’m pleased that all partners have been able to come together to put this Protection Order in place and that this area will now be safeguarded against fire risk in the future.”

What about my garden?

It does not prevent residents living in the PSPO restricted area from, for example, enjoying barbeques or setting off fireworks in their own gardens.

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The PSPO will last for three years and organisations and individuals can apply for an exemption if they need to light a fire for a community event where they will be given written consent if they are able to meet the rules and regulations.

A person will be guilty of an offence if they breach the prohibitions within the Prohibition Area, without first obtaining written consent from Chorley Council.

Why is this needed?

Liam Wilson of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Most wildfires in Lancashire are caused by human action including inappropriate use of disposable barbecues and campfires. They cause widescale destruction to our fragile moorland which can take decades or longer to recover. Local communities are exposed to significant risk from smoke plumes and impacts upon drinking water quality, not to mention the cost to the landowner of replacing damaged infrastructure.”

Lancashire knows only too well the devastating effects of wildfires following a fire on Winter Hill in summer 2018 which destroyed 18 square kilometres of moorland.