Marks & Spencer has announced it will stop selling disposable barbecues in all its UK stores, following widespread grassland fires during last month’s record heat wave.

The supermarket chain said it wanted to do its part to help protect open spaces and reduce the risk of fire.

M&S tweeted: “We had already stopped selling disposable barbecues near National Parks and in London, but given the unusually hot and dry conditions we have taken the precautionary step of removing them from sale across the UK. United.”

The decision was hailed by the London Fire Brigade (LFB) as “good news”. The fire service is spearheading a campaign to ban disposable barbecues nationwide and has called on members of the public to sign a petition to parliament to ban their sale and use.

Waitrose and Aldi have already announced that they will no longer stock barbecues. The LFB has pointed the finger at other chains – including Morrisons, which still sell £2.50 disposable barbecues – for not following suit.

London Fire Marshal Andy Roe said disposable barbecues can cause “untold damage” when weather conditions are as hot and dry as they have been in recent weeks.

“Despite our grass fire warnings, we still saw some people behaving in a negligent and reckless manner,” he said.

“On Saturday (July 23) firefighters prevented a serious fire at Wanstead Flats caused by the use of a disposable barbecue. We need urgent action now to see a nationwide ban on the sale of disposable barbecues.

The dry spell in July left the grasslands in a “powder keg” state, added the LFB. New statistics from the department show the Brigade received 8,302 calls and responded to 3,231 incidents during the week beginning July 19.

Around 90 families were evacuated from the village of Wennington, Essex, on July 19 after grass fires spread through the community and destroyed nine homes, while dozens of other buildings were badly damaged.

A total of 16 LFB firefighters suffered heat-related injuries as they battled to put out the blazes, which also raged in other parts of the capital including Dagenham and Kenton.

It came during a heat wave that saw Britain record its highest ever temperature. London Heathrow Airport hit 40.2C around 12.50pm on July 19.

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This notice was published: 2022-08-03 17:21:22