David Smith – Principal Officer Communities and Partnerships, introduced a report which set out measures to reduce the risk of wildfires in high risk areas of the District
The Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 gave local authorities the power to introduce a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) to control behaviours in a public place, which had caused or may cause a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality and would likely to be of a continuing or persistent nature and were therefore unreasonable.
Moorlands fires or wildfires could have a range of impacts including loss of life and property, damage to wildlife and biodiversity, carbon loss, loss of grazing land, and damage to water catchments and supplies. The financial cost of wildfires could also be substantial.
The introduction of a PSPO by the District Council could help to reduce the occurrence of wildfires by prohibiting the lighting of fires, barbecues, fireworks and Chinese (sky) lanterns. In addition, the Council could work with partners to raise awareness of the risks of wildfires and to encourage people to behave responsibly.
Members fully supported the introduction of a PSPO and would have liked the measures to include residential areas. Members shared their concerns in relation to fireworks, enforcement and asked if there had been any co-ordination with neighbouring authorities, and if the order could include land owned by parish councils.
In response, David Smith advised that it would be difficult for the measures to be introduced if the land was not in the Council’s ownership. The new PSPO would be launched with an advertising campaign and officers would patrol areas at times known to be problematic. A similar order had been discussed with High Peak Borough Council and Derbyshire Dales District Council would be contacted. Parish councils would need to give their permission for their land to be included in the order and evidence that there had been a detrimental impact on their land. Cabinet could then consider such requests.
The Panel RECOMMENDED that:-
1) Cabinet agreed to carry out the necessary consultation, publication and notification in relation to the draft Order appended to the report;
2) Cabinet subsequently approves the draft Order by Delegated Cabinet Decision unless the responses from the consultation necessitate material changes to the draft Order.