Warning over countryside rule which could land you with large fine or jail sentence

People who ignore countryside rules could face large fine or prison sentence <i>(Image: Newsquest, Mike Simmonds)</i>
People who ignore countryside rules could face large fine or prison sentence (Image: Newsquest, Mike Simmonds)

People could be issued with a £2,500 fine or prison sentence if they do not take rules in parts of the countryside seriously.

Thousands of hectares of moorlands are destroyed by wildfires every year, West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service warned.

The fires - easily caused by smouldering single use barbecues, sky lanterns and fireworks - can take days to tackle.

Now the emergency service has launched its ‘#BeMoorAware’ campaign as the warmer weather returns this spring and summer.

Danny Jackson, countryside and rights of way manager at Bradford Council, said: “The tactic is to try and avoid it in the first place.

“Once a fire takes hold it can be hugely resource intensive to fight it.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:
Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

“The last big fire we had on Ilkley Moor, the fire service were here for over a week.”

David Cookson, assistant district commander for Bradford, spoke about the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) which remains in place on Ilkley Moor.

“The moors are there for everybody to enjoy, and we want them to enjoy coming to the moors,” he said.

“We just want them to be responsible when they are on the moors.

“It's quite easy, especially in the hotter weather which is coming soon, the clocks change at the weekend, it's more inviting for people to come onto the moors.

“Be responsible. By that I mean picking up your rubbish or not leaving rubbish in the first place, but also being responsible with hot objects and fires, so barbecues, sky lanterns, and fireworks even.

“We're really trying to put people off from doing that.

“We have to do it as well because there's a PSPO. That's been in place now on Ilkley Moor especially for quite some time. That prevents people from bringing BBQs and hot objects onto the moors.

“If they do, there is a fine up to £2,500, depending on the severity it can also lead to a prison sentence. It's quite severe and it’s there for a reason.

“We've had quite serious fires on the moors. We don't want that to happen again.”

The campaign is being run in partnership with West Yorkshire Police, Bradford Council, Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) Officers and Keighley’s Wildfire team.

Describing the difficulties involved in putting out wildfires, he said: “Trying to deal with those fires, where there’s no water or very little water, is very difficult indeed. It means we have to put many resources, many fire engines, many firefighters, onto the scene, usually with beaters and blowers, bits of water we can get onto the site, they’re usually burning for a long time, spreading before we really get a good hold of it.

“We could be here for days trying to put a fire out.”