AS the hot weather returns, the city council is reminding people that barbecues are not permitted in Leicester’s parks and open spaces – and that coronavirus restrictions are still in place.
Byelaws protecting the city’s parks mean that anyone using a barbecue or lighting a fire in a Leicester park could face a fine of up to £500 – and with ground conditions dry after days of sunshine, increasing the risk of fires getting out of control, it’s vital that people respect the law and only use their barbecues in their gardens at home.
Head of parks and open spaces Stewart Doughty said: “Although lockdown restrictions are still in place, people have understandably wanted to meet up in our parks and enjoy the sunshine.
“But as the warm weather returns, I need to remind people that they must not use a barbecue in our parks and open spaces.
“The byelaws are in place for good reason – and that’s because of the risks barbecues present to other park users, as well as to the wildlife and vegetation in our parks.
“Pack up a picnic, fill up a cool-bag and bring your deckchairs for a day in the park – but please dispose of your litter properly and leave your barbecues at home.”
The only Leicester park with a barbecue area is Bede Park, where barbecues are permitted in the clearly designated space next to the outdoor gym. Social distancing rules must be observed while using the space, which provides hard-standing areas for your barbecue. Please note that barbecues are not permitted in other areas of Bede Park.
People are also reminded that coronavirus restrictions are still in force, which means that groups of more than six people are not permitted to meet up, unless they are all members of the same household.
Anyone planning a barbecue at home is reminded to keep the barbecue away from buildings, sheds, fences, trees and shrubs.
Edd Rodgers, Station Manager Community Safety at the Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Between April and May, we were called out to more than 100 fires involving vegetation, refuse or fences in people’s gardens – and there were at least 16 fires involving barbecues, discarded matches or smoking materials.
“We want everyone to enjoy themselves during the warmer weather, but please be mindful that the ground has become very dry, increasing the risk of fire.
“Barbecues can easily cause fires when embers are carried by the wind onto areas of dry grass, and can rapidly get out of control and spread.”
Barbecues should never be left unattended, and disposable barbecues need to be cooled immediately after use, using cold water, before being disposed of safely to prevent the risk of fire.
More information about barbecuing safely is available from the LFRS