Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the potential for an extremely hot and dry summer season in 2023, what steps her Department is taking to reduce the risk of wildfires; and when the findings of her Department’s research into the fire and environmental risks of sky lanterns and disposable BBQs will be published.
The Government has a key role to play in making our natural landscapes resilient to the risks posed by wildfire.
We are working with Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, National Park Authorities and other Government departments to promote a series of guidance videos to educate users about travelling to and spending time outdoors safely in the wider countryside. This includes an updated Countryside Code which advises not to have barbecues or fires.
In 2021 we supported the development of a new accredited training programme, designed to consolidate knowledge, skills and understanding of vegetation fires including wildfire incidents. Within the first two years more than 800 prevention and response modules have been completed by public and private land managers.
The Government has committed further funding for the next two years and we continue to work closely with a range of stakeholders including land managers, the Forestry Commission, NFU, ENGOs and the National Fire Chiefs Council to embed this training across England, and to identify and respond to further training requirements.
Research into the environmental impacts of single use barbecues and sky lanterns concluded in March. We are currently considering next steps which we aim to finalise soon.