• Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

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Darker Nights: Newcastle’s Anti-blazin’ squad…

With the clocks going back and the nights drawing in preparations are being made to ensure Newcastle’s communities are a safe place to be over the winter months.
The Darker Nights campaign will see the City Council and Your Homes Newcastle (YHN), the organisation responsible for managing its council homes, working together with other partners including Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, Northumbria Police, the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) and Trading Standards to help minimise the risks caused by illegal bonfires, fireworks and anti-social behaviour.
The Darker Nights campaign will be active in the communities of Newcastle throughout the autumn, winter and spring seasons. Northumbria Police are launching their own proactive operation next week to address the different crimes that come with the darker months.
In the build-up to Bonfire Night, staff from both YHN and Newcastle City Council are surveying the fly-tipping hot-spots and removing any combustible waste with the council’s enforcement team prosecuting anyone found fly-tipping in the city.

(The actions days this week are Wednesday 1st, Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd November).

The teams will be clearing away piles of waste that could be used for illegal bonfires and advising residents of how best to dispose of bulky materials that are building up in and round their homes. Items like sofas and mattresses when set alight can emit poisonous fumes that may be harmful if inhaled.
Over the past two years similar community clean-up programmes have removed 43 tonnes (in 2016) and 70 tonnes (in 2015) of combustible waste from the streets of Newcastle in three days of intensive enforcement campaign.
Cllr Nick Kemp, Chair of Safe Newcastle, said: “The aim of the Darker Nights campaign is to help protect the residents and businesses of Newcastle from anti-social behaviour that could cause people distress or even lead to loss of life. We are helping to raise awareness about the dangers of people creating and igniting illegal bonfires from discarded household materials. The campaign also looks at firework safety that will keep people safe from harm.
“The messages aren’t solely attached to Bonfire Night, as we want residents to be careful and vigilant throughout the darker night season during autumn, winter and spring. We are working with our partners to help create a safer Newcastle.”
The issue of illegal bonfires and anti-social behaviour seem to walk hand-in-hand, and, as part of the Darker Nights campaign, an education programme has been set up to try and help educate repeat offenders in association with Newcastle Youth Offending Team (YOTs).
YHN, Newcastle City Council and their partners would advise residents to always use licensed waste collection companies and attend professionally organised bonfires and firework displays.
The City Council would remind businesses and residents that Bonfire night is not an opportunity to get rid of rubbish and people can be prosecuted for doing so – the fine is unlimited and the maximum penalty is 5 years jail.
Partner Quotes:
Your Homes Newcastle
David Langhorne, YHN’s Assets and Developments Director, said:  “Every year we work with our partners to encourage those living in our communities to report any illegal activity so that we can work together to help keep people safe. We know that many of our customers find fireworks and bonfires intimidating. They can cause damage to people, property and pets. As a result, we’ll be out and about this week to collect piles of waste.
“Our customers can help with this campaign by recognising the dangers associated with illegal bonfires and not planning any of their own or contributing combustible waste to piles on their estate. We ask that customers report any piles of combustible waste and/or fly-tipping to Envirocall when they see it and only using licensed companies to have bulky waste removed from their home or garden.”
Northumbria Police
Chief inspector Nicola Wearing said: “We are working closely with colleagues in Tyne and wear Fire Service and the local authority to make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable Bonfire Night.
“A lot of work has already gone on to tackle traders who have been selling illegal fireworks. We have also seized a number of banned fireworks from members of the public and delivered safety inputs at schools alongside colleagues from the fire service.
“This proactive work will continue in the lead up to Bonfire Night with additional policing patrols across the force area and our main message is a simple one, only attend official fireworks displays.
“Next week we will be launching our own operation as part of the onset of the darker months and this partnership work will be integral to keeping our communities safe.”
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service Keith Carruthers, Area Manager – Community Safety commented: “We are seeing an increase in wheelie bin fires, and by working with our colleagues in the City Council, Northumbria Police and other agencies, we hope to reduce further incidents. Wheelie bin fires provide huge risks for those who start them, and for neighbouring properties. Additionally by being called out to these deliberate fires, we face the challenge of not being available if there was a life-saving emergency elsewhere.”
Here are two organised fireworks displays taking place in Newcastle:
Friday 3rd November / 18.30 – 19.00 / firework display at Ouseburn Community Centre, Ouseburn Stadium / Entry free of charge.
Saturday 4th November / Gosforth Roundtable / Broadway Way / Gates open at 17:00 / fireworks will begin at 19.00 / Entry £4 for adults, £2 for children, £10 for a family of four and under fives go free.
Residents who spot a bonfire which they think may be illegal can report it to the council on 0191 2787878. This is the telephone number to call all year round if you have any community or environmental issues.
People can follow the City Council on social media via @NewcastleCityCouncil (Face Book) or @NewcastleCC (Twitter) and www.newcastle.gov.uk


By Emily