Liberal Democrats support Public Space Protection Order on Saddleworth Moor

The Oldham Liberal Democrat Group supports Oldham Council’s proposal to consult on the establishment of a Public Space Protection Order on Saddleworth Moor to help combat moorland fires. 

Commenting, Saddleworth North Liberal Democrat Councillor Garth Harkness said: “Like many residents of this borough, I have been distressed to witness the devastating fires on Saddleworth and Crompton Moors over Easter and before that.  I know these concerns are shared by my Liberal Democrat colleagues in Saddleworth West and Lees, Shaw and Crompton.”

“These fires are now a regular occurrence when the weather gets hot and the ground is dry.  Some are doubtless ignited by natural causes, but, in all too many cases, they are the malicious work of arsonists or caused by irresponsibility on the part of day-trippers using portable disposable barbeques or discarding cigarettes on the moor.  I worry that, now we are in summer, we are likely to see a further onset of moorland fires and so it is imperative that we maintain our vigilance and look to strengthen our powers in combatting criminal activity.”

Councillor Garth Harkness has been pushing for the introduction of a PSPO to protect the moorland around Saddleworth

Councillor Harkness and his Liberal Democrat colleagues all support the introduction of a Public Space Protection Order to help combat the fire menace.

Councillor Harkness added:  “Crompton Moor has a Public Space Protection Order in place, which makes the lighting of fires and the cutting down of trees for firewood punishable offences, whereas Saddleworth Moor does not.  I believe we need to have a Public Space Protection Order on Saddleworth Moor.  It represents one more legal tool to help combat the irresponsible firelighters on the moor or those who are down-right criminal.  

“A PSPO provides for an on-the-spot Fixed Penalty and a £1,000 fine for matters taken to court.  The Oldham Liberal Democrats would like to see the Council, with its partners in the Police, the Peak District Park Authority and United Utilities, working together to enforce these orders, including using drones on the moor, as I for one do not want to see another summer of our beautiful moorlands ablaze and the frightening prospect of a fatality.”

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