GRATEFUL trustees of a popular national park set in Powys have thanked supermarket bosses after announcing they were halting sales of instant barbecues.

Co-op bosses revealed this week that they are withdrawing disposable barbecues from sale in their stores situated in or within a one-mile radius of all UK National Parks, in a move designed to help prevent devastating wildfires. It means instant barbecues have been removed from sale in 130 Co-op stores across the UK.

Millions of instant barbecues are sold every year, and while the majority are used safely, however, many National Parks and some landowners have introduced a ban on their usage. The convenience retailer has made this announcement to help consumers, who will often purchase the instant barbecues on the way to visit these beauty spots, to support these local bans.

The move has been welcomed by Brecon Beacons bosses, who say the ban will help them protect the stunning area, located in south Powys.

“Thank you @coopuk for stopping sales of disposable BBQs at stores in and close to @uknationalparks,” the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority tweeted on Friday (June 18).

“This helps us to prevent wildfires and protect our countryside, communities and wildlife from the devastating damage they can cause.”

Machynlleth is among the many stores announced to be involved in the project on Friday in a bid to battle wildfires.

Stores in Bala, Barmouth, Dolgellau and Tywyn, which fall within the radius to Snowdonia National Park, will also be affected.

Adele Balmforth, buying director at Co-op, said: “While the majority of consumers use, extinguish, and dispose of instant barbecues safely, and we continue to sell many of them from our stores across the UK, we respect that local decisions to protect the parkland have to be made.

“Where we have stores in, and within a one-mile radius, of a National Park we have removed instant barbecues from sale to help protect the landscape of the communities in which we serve.”

Last week, firefighters from Presteigne, Knighton and Llandrindod Wells were called to a wildfire raging through an area of heathland in south Powys.

Although not directly linked to disposable barbecues, there have been numerous instances of wildfires across the county in recent months.

Co-op’s move follows concerns shared by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) over the number of instant barbecue-related fires, both in outdoor spaces and in the home when used on balconies or too close to garden fences and trees. NFCC is not calling for a ban of instant barbecues as it could encourage people to use makeshift ones, which can be unpredictable but wants people to be able to enjoy barbecues and urges everyone to use them responsibly.

Paul Hedley, NFCC lead for wildfires, said: “We support Co-op’s move – adding clear warnings along with simple messaging on how to dispose of these barbecues is an effective way to prevent fires.

“Most people manage to enjoy instant barbecues with no issues but the worrying upward trend in wildfires caused by these devices, cannot be ignored and action has to be taken.”