When Wyevale Garden Centres announced in 2007 that it was to stop selling patio heaters at its 120 UK stores, the move was widely applauded by environment campaigners.

Eco-campaigners dislike patio heaters

But greens are again seeing red after learning that the company, now called
The Garden Centre Group, is renting patio heaters to customers online through an operation run by a business partner.

Environmentalists took to internet forums to accuse firm of “double standards” and “heating up fresh air”.

“Banning the sale of patio heaters because they damage the climate but then carrying on hiring them out is clearly nonsensical and will disappoint green-minded customers,” said Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Dave Timms.

“Climate change is the biggest threat the planet faces and the responsible thing for companies to do is to stop supplying polluting and unnecessary products. Using a patio heater for an hour can waste enough energy to make 400 cups of tea.”

The Garden Centre Group, which lists over 2,000 products on its Hire Station website, describes its 13kW patio heaters as “high quality and stylish”.

Customers are advised that the gadgets are capable of heating areas of up to 25 square metres and are “ideal for parties and outdoor events”. They cost £40.80 per week.

The Garden Centre Group issued a statement to AG. Marketing director Lorrie Robertson said: “The Garden Centre Group has not stocked or sold patio heaters for the past three years.

“Our concession partner, Hire Station, which operates independently from The Garden Centre Group, does include patio heaters as part of its hire range.”