North East Connected

Keep it clean and safe this Bonfire Night

The Environment Agency is warning people to watch what they burn this Guy Fawkes night to prevent environmental pollution and damage to health.

Anyone planning a bonfire, either at home or for a larger public event, is reminded that it is illegal to burn many types of waste, including treated wood, tyres, plastics, rubber and oil. If lit, these materials can cause serious harm to health and pollute the environment.

All bonfire materials should be clean, non-commercial waste and only small amounts of untreated wood, paper, leaves, and cardboard should be used.

Organisers are also asked to spare a thought for wildlife. Hedgehogs, toads, frogs, lizards and snakes may nestle under bonfires after they are built. As a precaution, organisers should build the bonfire as close to the event as possible; as far away as possible from trees bird boxes and bat boxes; and make sure to check for wildlife before lighting.

Jamie Fletcher, Area Environment Manager, at the Environment Agency said: “Whilst we want people to enjoy the occasion, organisers of bonfires need to understand it is illegal to burn most types of waste.

“It may be tempting to burn old bits of furniture, mattresses and household rubbish, but the toxic fumes given off from burning certain types of material can cause pollution and damage people’s health. Even stuffing the Guy with scraps of used foam or old clothing should be avoided and you should never attempt to burn metal or glass.”

Any waste collected for the bonfire should be stored securely beforehand to prevent any unsuitable waste being illegally dumped on the fire. It is the responsibility of the organiser to know where the bonfire material has come from and that it is suitable to be burned. It is also their responsibility to never leave the fire unattended, and to make sure it is out before leaving the site.

They should also obtain the landowner’s permission beforehand and make sure the fire or smoke from the fire will not affect any houses, buildings or roads, which could become a danger to public safety.

As well as checking for wildlife before lighting, organisers are also advised to light the bonfire from one side only so any wildlife hiding inside has a better chance of escaping.

For further information, read the Environment Agency advice on GOV.UK to check the disposal of waste on bonfires is both safe and legal.

If anyone sees any suspicious activities they should contact the Environment Agency incident line on 0800 807060 or report it anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

People face a fine of up to £50,000 for illegally managing waste. More information and guidance on materials which are safe to burn on a bonfire and further information or organisers of bonfire and firework events can be found on the website.

Exit mobile version