Boom in disposable barbecue sales leaves Scots beauty spots scorched

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SCOTLAND'S city parks and country beauty spots are being blighted as sales of cheap disposable barbecue kits soar.

Supermarket giant Asda is on track to sell 600,000 kits – a 20 per cent increase on last year.

Sainsbury's reports a 15 per cent rise on sales over last year.

While Morrisons' kits sales rose six fold between the first and second bank holiday weekends this May.

The barbecue kits can sell for as little as 1.

In Edinburgh many signs prohibiting the use of disposable barbecues on the Meadows have been removed.

Friends of the Meadows spokesman Dr Peng Lee Yap said: "On a summer evening there can be multiple barbecues burning in the park.

"They burn the grass, create unpleasant smells and the users just leave their litter.

"But there is also a safety issue – the kits themselves are hot to touch and ash and charcoal is left lying around which children can touch."

Convener of Friends of Edinburgh's Inverleith Park Tony Cook said: "Disposable kits are encouraging people to barbecue. Over seven barbecues at any one time on a warm day is common.

"Why can't people just have a picnic?"

An Edinburgh council spokesman said: "We are aware of the concerns raised regarding the use of barbecues in our parks and are working with local community groups towards identifying a workable solution."

After one hot weekend last month 200 discarded kits were collected by countryside staff in East Lothian.

A council spokeswoman said: "The portable barbecue kits are being left where they were used.

"Turf is being burnt and two rubbish wheelie bins have been destroyed by barbecues which were thrown away whilst they were still hot."

Tourist hotspots in Callander and Lochearnhead have also been affected along with Laighills Park in Dunblane and the surrounds of Balmaha.

A spokeswoman for Stirling Council said: "During a period of warm sunny weather ten to fifteen disposable barbecues a week are being left in each area.

"People are leaving them behind because they are still hot.

"They are consequently a hazard to others.

"Their use is proportional to the hot weather.

"When left on a surface they burn it – that goes for grass, picnic tables and benches."

Highland Council also reports countryside picnic areas being "littered with disposable barbecues".

Local corner shops also report cheap disposable barbecue kits flying off their shelves in the hot weather.

A kit consists of an aluminium tray and a steel grill, coated in a flammable material for easy lighting. The temperature of the metal surround rises to 43 degrees Celsius.

Once lit it can burn for as long as two hours then takes at least half an hour to cool to a safe to handle temperature.

If placed on a stone surface that too remains dangerously hot.

Samantha Adderley, Waste Prevention Project Officer at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: "Now that the sun is coming out, many people are enjoying barbecues within their local parks.

"They don't realise that disposable barbecues are difficult to recycle, they use up valuable natural resources and can scorch the ground beyond repair, killing grass and leaving the soil infertile.

"If you're planning to eat in the fresh air this summer, please consider using a re-usable barbecue in your own back yard or prepare a picnic to take to the park."

Catriona Davis, policy officer of the Scottish Rights of Way and Access Society (Scotways), said: "Freedom to roam legislation does not include the right to have barbecues.

"Prohibitive signs can and should be used. If disposable barbecue use is not controlled parks will become like patchwork quilts of burnt grass."