Nature Ramble

Here’s an issue I have never considered.

We love the outdoors, and some of us try to make the most of it by visiting parks and green areas.

But there are those who do it, and those who complain about people doing it.

Personally, I do it whenever I have the cash to do it, right at my gate.

I couldn’t believe that this was an issue.

Is it anti-social to use barbecues in parks?

Cities around the world are debating whether to permit barbecues in municipal open spaces. What are the dos and don’ts of grilling food in public?

You might recognise the scene on a large patch of public grassland. The odour of inexpertly-charred meat. The babble of drunk people congregating. The spectacle of adults in shorts, arms folded, cheeks flushed with indignation, shouting at each other.

Barbecues are a precarious enough social occasion when they occur in the privacy of a back garden, with smoke and chatter billowing across fences, potentially inciting the ire of neighbours.

In communal spaces like parks – where one ratepayer’s carefree al fresco culinary get-together is another’s smoke-belching, grass-scorching, noisy, litter-strewn, anti-social nuisance – the capacity for confrontation and awkwardness is even greater.

Around the world this summer, civic leaders are grappling with a shared dilemma. In the New York borough of Brooklyn, there are calls to ban grilling in Prospect Park in an effort to rid it of “toxic fumes”.

In Camden, north London, by contrast, a long-standing and controversial barbecue ban is about to be overturned – following in the wake of neighbouring Islington, which lifted a similar prohibition in 2011.

Highbury Fields, north London: A park where barbecues are allowed

The issue can be deeply emotive. Leaders at Bristol City Council were accused of staging “an assault on civil liberties” when they proposed restricting a range of activities including lighting barbecues in parks.

In Rockdale, a suburb of Sydney – where cooking outdoors is widely seen as an expression of national pride – the failure of an effort to overturn a similar ban led to a mass walkout from the council chambers.

By contrast, some naysayers are implacably opposed to the practice of barbecuing in parks under any circumstances.

“Cooking in public places should be illegal,” insists Masterchef judge Gregg Wallace, a noted barbecue-phobe. “It’s going to smell. It’s going to cause a mess. If you want to cook you should do it in the kitchen.

“This is Britain. We have picnics. If you want to have a barbecue, put on a pair of Bermuda shorts and get on a plane for 20 hours to Australia or New Zealand.”

Source: BBCNews Read more

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9 responses to this post.

  1. Oh no, not all those pale British people stumbling off planes, disturbing our barbies! 🙂

    Many councils here even provide gas (or electric) barbeques for folks to use.

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  2. Posted by Alex Jones on July 27, 2014 at 4:26 am

    My opinion is that unless the complainant has a stake in the thing complained about i.e. they are participants in it, then they can be ignored.

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  3. Posted by Marie on July 27, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    This is something I’d never really considered before, in fact I don’t think I realized that folk barbecue in parks. I have never seen it, at campgrounds yes.
    I live with a large backyard, we have only ever lived in an apartment once for about a year, so we’ve always had access to a barbecue area.
    For many people the only outdoor, green space they may have is a park so I see no problem with people using it to play, soak up some sun, sit and read or picnic and if that includes bbq that’s fine with me. Getting people out into nature is never a bad thing
    Marie

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  4. Barbecuing is as normal here as breathing. Our public parks provide open grills for use, free of charge. There are so many other ways we are polluting the air etc this seems like a petty thing to focus on.

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