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Public Spaces Protection Order number 1: relating to fires and BBQs consultation

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Background information

Despite a series of high-profile campaigns in and around the New Forest, about the dangers of fires on the open forest, including an operational ban on disposable BBQs on Forestry England land in 2020, significant numbers of incidents caused by BBQs and campfires, continue to be recorded by Forestry England, New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) and Hampshire and Isle of White Fire and Rescue Service (HIWFRS). 

Our report to our Executive on 2 November 2022 Cabinet Report - The Introduction of Public Space Protection Orders sets out the detrimental effects on the quality of life of those in the locality from these activities; namely the starting of fires in grass, heathland and forest areas.

Such fires can result in serious safety concerns and risk to life; damage biodiversity, habitats and property and place an enormous strain, both operationally and financially, on the emergency services and organisations within the Forest, who have to deal with them. 

We consider these anti-social activities to be  persistent and unreasonable.  

To help reduce the risks from wildfires and BBQs, we are proposing to make a Public Spaces Protection Order, referred to as The New Forest Public Spaces Protection Order 2022 (Number 1) ('PSPO No 1').

View the draft The New Forest Public Spaces Protection Order 2022 Number 1 (PDF) [7MB]

If made, Public Spaces Protection Order Number 1 would prohibit the following activities:

(a) placing, throwing or dropping items likely to cause a fire

(b) lighting fires (of any type) or barbeques (including disposable barbeques and any outdoor temporary cooking facilities or equipment) 

(c) using items which either (i) cause a naked flame or (ii) pose a risk of fire 

The proposed Public Spaces Protection Order Number 1 would only apply to any land within the proposed Restricted Area. The Restricted Area principally comprises land managed and controlled by Forestry England.

This is land that is open to the air and to which the public are entitled or permitted to have access, on payment or otherwise, as of right or by virtue of express or implied permission.  For example, it would not apply to a resident who wanted to enjoy a BBQ in their own garden. 

Within the proposed Public Spaces Protection Order Number 1 there are proposed exceptions relating to:

  1. legitimate land management activities undertaken by those with a legal interest in the Restricted Area or their authorised agents and
  2. Forestry England Campsites where the activities on those sites comprise the proper use of barbeques and stoves that are purpose built and raised off the ground. These Forestry England Campsites are shown coloured in red on the Restricted Area map.

Also within the proposed Public Spaces Protection Order Number 1, there are requirements for any person found to be acting contrary to the prohibition, to terminate any of the above activities, and to surrender any item in their possession, if an authorised officer reasonably believes it is being used or is likely to be used, in connection with the above prohibited activities. 

Breaching a Public Spaces Protection Order

If made, breaching the terms of the Public Spaces Protection Order would be a criminal offence and could result in a fixed penalty notice being issued with a maximum penalty of £100 or prosecution which could result in a fine of up to £1000. 

A Public Spaces Protection Order, if made, lasts for three years but can be extended. 

Take part in the consultation

This consultation has now ended.

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