Charcoal burner gets eco-friendly barbeques sizzling

A more eco-friendly charcoal which is available to buy at Whitlingham County Park Visitor Centre. Pi

A more eco-friendly charcoal which is available to buy at Whitlingham County Park Visitor Centre. Picture: Broads Authority - Credit: Broads Authority

With warm weather and long days, now seems like the perfect time for a summer barbeque.

A more eco-friendly charcoal which is available to buy at Whitlingham County Park Visitor Centre. Pi

A more eco-friendly charcoal which is available to buy at Whitlingham County Park Visitor Centre. Picture: Broads Authority - Credit: Broads Authority

But your barbeque could be seriously harmful to the environment, contributing to deforestation and climate change.

In 2018, Britain imported nearly 90,000 tons of charcoal, which may have been made from illegally harvested wood from tropical forests.

However, thanks to a new charcoal burner, known as 'Betty', al fresco dining could be more eco-friendly.

The biochar burner is funded by EU project CANAPE, and runs on wood from conservation work in and around the Norfolk Broads.

A more eco-friendly charcoal which is available to buy at Whitlingham County Park Visitor Centre. Pi

A more eco-friendly charcoal which is available to buy at Whitlingham County Park Visitor Centre. Picture: Broads Authority - Credit: Broads Authority

The charcoal, sold at Whitlingham Country Park Visitor Centre, is therefore more eco-friendly than imported charcoal used in most barbeques.

Andrea Kelly, senior ecologist for the Broads Authority, said: "Buying charcoal made from 100% local wood has so many positive environmental benefits.

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"Not only are you helping rural businesses, the wood Betty uses is a product of conservation work that will let in light for flowers and plants; helping local wildlife including insects such as the swallowtail butterfly, birds and small mammals to flourish."

Food cooked with this charcoal may also taste better, as it does not contain the chemicals that traditional charcoal does.

A more eco-friendly charcoal which is available to buy at Whitlingham County Park Visitor Centre. Pi

A more eco-friendly charcoal which is available to buy at Whitlingham County Park Visitor Centre. Picture: Broads Authority - Credit: Broads Authority

The ash can also be used to compost gardens.