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Media Release – Town Council acts to stop “irresponsible” barbecue risk

3 July 2020.



The media release below has been issued to replace an earlier version (dated 29 June 2020). That document incorrectly stated that Dorset Council had agreed a barbecue ban on its land and that this would include beaches under its ownership or control. Dorset Council is considering a prohibition but has not made any such decision.

I take full responsibility for the error which resulted from a misunderstanding of the position on my part. I am truly sorry, to recipients of the original release, to Dorset Council, to the Leader of the Town Council and to anyone who has been misled by the incorrect information. would ask that media partners correct – including my apology – any online articles already published, and also to consider a prominent correction in any print publications.

Will Austin, Town Clerk

Town Council acts to stop “irresponsible” barbecue risk

Two recent incidents have led Bridport Town Council to ban fires on its land, except where permission is given.

Town councillors agreed the ban at their June meeting after a long period of dry weather which saw two serious fires at Wareham Forest, and two further incidents at Asker Meadows in Bridport that were attended by the Fire Service.

Bridport Town Council Leader Cllr Dave Rickard said “Our main concern is the irresponsible use of disposable barbecues. We have seen two cases in Bridport recently where they were left unattended and still alight, and had it not been for a swift response from the Fire Service we could have seen very serious consequences. It is staggering that a minority have played ‘fast and loose’ with public safety and have caused us to have to implement this ban.”

The prohibition is effective immediately and will stay in force indefinitely, although there will be some exceptions. Town Clerk Will Austin said “Where we’ve already given permission, such as on our allotments or for specific events, this will continue. We’ll look at new requests, but obviously given recent incidents we’ll want absolute assurances about safety.”

The Council is also calling on owners of other publicly accessible land in Bridport to put a ban in place. Cllr Rickard said “Dorset Council is considering a similar prohibition on its land but there are large areas of privately-owned land locally that are open to the public and could be vulnerable.”

Significant areas of open land included in the Town Council ban are Asker Meadows, St Mary’s Playing Fields, Riverside Gardens, Borough Gardens, Harbour Green, Fisherman’s Green and Bridport Football Club Car Park. Mr Austin said “We will erect some signs but we won’t be publishing a definitive list of land covered by the ban. Members of the public should simply assume that the lighting of barbecues and other fires in the area is not allowed.”


Contact: Will Austin, Town Clerk, Bridport Town Council.
Email [email protected]
or tel 01308 456722

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