DISPOSABLE barbecues should be banned from beaches across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, a councillor has said.

Conservative shadow cabinet member for crime May Haines has called on BCP Council to follow the lead taken in the New Forest and make their use “illegal” along the seafront.

She said issues linked to their use, including children suffering burns and bin fires, meant “urgent action” was required.

Barbecues can only be used on the conurbation’s beaches after 6pm under existing rules and no open fires are allowed.

But recent incidents, including the May fire at Wareham Forest which took almost two weeks to extinguish, have led to increased calls for their use to be banned.

These concerns have prompted bans by the New Forest National Park Authority and Dorset Council is consulting on a ban.

And Cllr Haines has now asked for similar measures to be put in place by BCP Council.

“Since the first Mad Max weekend in May, I have been asking for action to ban them on our beaches in BCP Council, in particular in Sandbanks and Branksome Chine,” she said.

“It was reported to me that a child burnt her foot on a discarded barbecue and the fire service had to attend an incident in Westbourne where a bin was set alight from a disposable barbecue.”

She added: “The respite in the weather has kept visitors away [but] fine weather is not far off.

“Urgent action is need to deal with many issues. Banning fires along our seafront will be a good place to start.”

The Canford Cliffs ward councillor has also called for tighter restrictions on bonfires along the seafront, particularly in more residential areas, and a crackdown on “increased numbers” of people using nitrous oxide cannisters.

BCP Council cabinet member for tourism, councillor Lewis Allison, said the council’s position was “encouraging” people not to have open fires on either the beaches or on any council-owned land.

He said: “We work closely with other organisations to promote the safety messages around having a barbecue and the associated risks and our message to the public is to encourage them not to have open fires on our beaches or on any of our council-owned land.

“Barbecues are illegal on all our heathlands and we give clear guidance for people who want to have one on the beach, including how to safely dispose of them to prevent a fire hazard.

“[They] are not permitted on our beaches until after 6pm and we ask that everyone adheres to our guidance alongside advice from the local fire service.”

However, council officers will meet next week to discuss issues surrounding their use.

Dorset fire service advises people not to use disposable barbecues outside of their garden and to make sure they have cooled before they are put into a bin.