‘Big on safety, Lidl on grass fires’: London Fire Brigade attacks supermarkets over disposable BBQ sales

·5-min read

The London Fire Bridgade (LFB) has posted a series of tweets calling out some of the UK’s biggest supermarkets in a bid to rid the shelves of disposable barbecues.

“This is not just a bad idea to sell disposable BBQs……..it’s a very bad idea,” the LFB tweeted, tagging Marks and Spencer.

The supermarket joins the ranks of the Co-op, Morrisons, Lidl, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, who have all been subject to the London Fire Brigade’s jibes as it calls for a total ban on disposable barbecues, following one of the busiest weeks in its history.

According to the LFB some retailers, including Waitrose and Aldi, have already announced they will no longer stock disposable barbecues because of the detrimental impact they have on the environment and local wildlife.

But a number of major supermarkets are continuing to do so, depsite the significant fire risk they pose.

In a bid to name and shame those yet to implement a ban, the LFB asked Twitter users to tag them in pictures of disposable barbecues on sale so they could directly ask the retailer to take them off the shelves.

“Firefighters’ heroics last week prevented any deaths from the excessive grass fires we faced. Now we need your help,” it said.

“Every little helps,” starts one tweet. “But in this case @Tesco you could be a doing us a massive favour by removing from sale disposable BBQs.”

Another reads: “You may ‘help everyone eat better’ but what about helping firefighters to better reduce grass fires (using their slogans to fit our message is getting more difficult.) Anyway @sainsburys stop selling disposable BBQs.”

Morrisons was the next supermarket to receive the LFB treatment, with a tweet reading: “You say make good things happen. Disposable barbecues increase the chances of very bad grass fires happen. Do the right thing and ban them from your stores. Thanks.”

Another said: “For as little as £1.25 a disposable barbecue can be bought and potentially cause untold damage to tinderbox dry grassland that could spread to homes. It’s what we do @coopuk say. We’d really like you to take them off the shelves and totally ban disposable barbecues.”

“Hello @LidlGB Matthew raised this issue three months ago and doesn’t seem to have had a reply. Here’s your chance to ban disposable BBQs so you can be Big on safety, Lidl on preventing further grass fires,” another said.

The LFB told The Independent it had not yet received a direct response from those supermarkets still stocking disposable barbecues, but noted the “fantastic” response to its call for photos.

All six supermarkets have been contacted by The Independent for comment.

The call comes ahead of a possible second summer heatwave and after an unprecedented number of large grassland fires around the UK.

According to the LFB, London’s Fire Commissioner Andy Roe has already written to local authorities asking for a temporary ban on the use of barbecues in all public parks and open spaces, which several have agreed to.

The LFB is also backing a petition set up by Toby Tyler whose son Will was severely burned by a disposable barbecue. The petition can be found here.

Commissioner Roe said: “Despite our grass fire warnings, we’ve still seen some people behaving carelessly and recklessly. On Saturday (23rd July) firefighters prevented a serious blaze at Wanstead Flats caused using a disposable barbecue. We need urgent action now to see a national ban on the sale of disposable barbecues. They can be bought for as little as five pounds and can cause untold damage, especially when the grass is as dry as it has been over the last few weeks.

“Last week is another example of how we are increasingly being challenged by new extremes of weather as our climate changes and we’re developing long-term strategies to deal with more incidents like this in the future.”

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