THREE villages and 18 stores are disposable barbecue free, two weeks after the national park authority called for an outright ban.
All shops in Ashurst, Lyndhurst and Brockenhurst answered the NPA’s call to stop offering them for sale, and the authority has applauded retailers “large and small” across the district.
NPA chairman Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre said: “Thanks to support from garages and shops the villages of Ashurst, Lyndhurst and Brockenhurst are all now disposable BBQ-free.
“Our woods and lowland heathland are of global environmental importance for wildlife and their peaty soils store carbon and help reduce climate change.
“Wildfires at this time of year would cause immense damage to the ground and the rare flora and fauna. We must protect them from unintentional fires caused by carelessness.”
“While we have had some rain, the area remains on a fire alert and with the warm weather set to return, the New Forest will be at an even greater risk of fire. This is why we need your help.”
As reported in the A&T, the NPA campaign to ban the sale of disposable barbecues was launched a fortnight ago with the support of Forestry England and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.
It followed a large number of disposable barbecues being used while the New Forest is at extreme risk of fire, as multiple blazes were tackled and numerous areas of scorched earth were left across the protected habitats despite the fire warning being in place.
One of the retailers who answered the NPA call was Castles Home Hardware, in Christchurch. Company secretary Nicky Watson said: “I was delighted to help stop awful fires and devastation on the Forest, heathland or coast.”
So far the campaign has received widespread coverage, reaching nearly 300,000 people on social media with more 40,000 supporting it with likes, comments and shares.
The NPA has also urged residents to lobby local retailers still selling disposable barbecues. A list of participating retailers features on its website, and a poster can be downloaded and displayed in shop windows.
More information and a list of all stores supporting the campaign is available at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/BBQFreeNewForest