Bristol Downs 'barbecue slabs' trial to expand

A trial to allow barbecues in certain areas of the Downs in Bristol is being extended after it was found it helped reduce fire damage to the grassland.

The city council said the use of barbecues was a breach of bylaws as laid down under the Clifton and Durdham Downs Act (Bristol) 1861.

But it accepted many considered the rules as out of step with modern life.

Some concrete slabs were installed in 2009 and they have been credited with reducing the number of complaints.

Perennial problem

"Over the past two years measures have been put in place to more effectively manage the use of portable and disposable barbecues," a council spokesman said.

"The recommendation of the Downs Committee is that we approve the continuation of the current initiatives and approve the siting of 12 designated barbecue points in the recently cleared scrub areas near Circular Road.

"Over the trial period evidence indicates that the initiatives previously described have had some success."

The report to the Downs Committee said the use of barbecues was a "perennial problem".

It added that "robust enforcement" was necessary to prevent damage to the grass, an increase in litter, the fire risk, and that cooking fumes and smoke were a nuisance to other visitors and nearby residents.

The report is due to be considered by councillors on Monday.

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