Fireworks and sky lanterns could be banned to protect moorland in South Yorkshire

Lighting fires, barbecues, fireworks and sky lanterns could be banned in a bid to help prevent wildfires on open moorland in South Yorkshire.

Barnsley Council chiefs have proposed a public spaces protection order (PSPO), covering all publicly accessible moorland and footpaths close to open moorland in the borough.

If approved by cabinet on March 23, a public consultation will be held before a final decision is made.

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Council bosses hope that the main impact of the PSPO will be on “awareness of the causes of wildfires and how visitors to moorland can reduce their risk of starting fires”.

Thurlstone MoorThurlstone Moor
Thurlstone Moor

Similar PSPOs have been implemented by councils in Bradford and the High Peak in Derbyshire.

A map provided by Barnsley Council, shows areas of Thurlstone Moor which would be covered by the PSPO if it were to be implemented.

Under the new rules, council enforcement officers would have the authority to issue fixed penalty notices to anyone using disposable barbecues or lighting fires or fireworks in the area.

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A report to cabinet states that Barnsley’s peatlands are at a “particular risk of fire”, as they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

“Recent fires in neighbouring authorities have incurred great costs to landowners and emergency services,” the report added.

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“In April 2019, a barbeque lit by a member of the public started a fire at Marsden Moor in Kirklees which damaged 700 hectares of Moorland, took four days for firefighters to put out and caused £500,000 of damage.

“In April 2021, another fire occurred at Marsden Moor caused a further £200,000 of damage and required 50 firefighters to put out. There is potential for such fires to occur in Barnsley’s peat moorlands, which could cause similar levels of damage.

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“Enforcing the PSPO effectively will be challenging given the size of the area covered, however the council’s enforcement officers may issue fixed penalty notices to visitors carrying out banned activities under the ban.”

If approved, the PSPO will be in place for three years.