Councillors have voted to ban disposable barbecues from the beaches of Brighton and Hove and from council-owned parks and spaces.
They also agreed to an identical ban on balloon and lantern releases at a meeting at Hove Town Hall last night (Tuesday 15 March).
The prohibitions are included in a “public space protection order” (PSPO) and those breaking the rules could be issue with a £100 fine.
A disposable barbecue is believed to have been the cause of a major fire at Brighton and Hove City Council’s waste transfer station in Hollingdean in August 2019.
Labour councillor Theresa Fowler has been pushing for a ban and asked for a report to set out alternatives to disposable barbecues such as communal fire pits.
These would allow people to have a barbecue if they don’t have a garden or outdoor space.
Last night, Councillor Fowler told the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee: “I have sat on the beach enjoying the sea air only to have someone sit next to me and light up a barbecue.
“I have extremely sensitive eyes and have had to move as my eyes have been streaming.
“I’ve had several complaints from residents who suffer from asthma and it causes concern for them.”
She has also campaigned for an end to balloon releases because they are harmful to wildlife and led a deputation to the council in 2018 calling for a ban before she won her seat.
Conservative councillor Robert Nemeth called for a delay to the disposable barbecue ban until a report on providing communal barbecues, barbecue areas and no-barbecue beaches could go before a future committee.
Councillor Nemeth said: “It’s very easy for someone with a garden who can store a decent barbecue to ban someone else’s fun so I have a problem with that.
“The general thought of a tourist town trying to take away fun things on the beach does slightly trouble.
“It is possible to use a single-use barbecue responsibly. It’s not possible to use a lantern responsibly. The person could take it (the barbecue) home or put it in the right bin.”
He said that banning lanterns and balloon releases was a “no brainer” because people could not operate them responsibly.
Green and Labour councillors backed Councillor Fowler’s request over Councillor Nemeth’s.
Green councillor Jamie Lloyd said that disposable barbecues were a sign of a disposable society when people should be able to create a fire to cook on themselves.
He said: “They are an absolute disaster environmentally. You can’t recycle them. They create a toxic fug over the beach on a hot summer afternoon or evening which is absolutely horrible.
“They caused a bin fire at the depot. This is serious stuff. How much did that cost us from one disposable barbecue?
“I understand the equalities issues but they weren’t around when I was a kid and I didn’t notice everyone’s quality of life improving when they were invented.”
Councillor Lloyd said that a public consultation found that an overwhelmingly majority favoured banning disposable barbecues on the beach and council land.
The consultation ran from November to January and, of 671 responses, 79 per cent agreed with a ban. Even more backed a ban on balloon and lantern releases, with 87 per cent in support.
The PSPO, which comes into force on Friday 1 July, will allow people to use non-disposable barbecues after 6pm on beaches where they are permitted.
Barbecues of all types are banned from the beaches between the two piers, between Hove Street and Fourth Avenue, on Hove Lawns and the promenade or its surrounding walls.
Waitrose and Aldi no longer sell disposable barbecues while the Co-op has banned them from stores in or within a mile of a national park.