a bonfire in a garden

Council calls on residents to stop nuisance bonfires

Residents are being reminded not to start bonfires that could cause problems for their neighbours. 

This is particularly important during the current coronavirus pandemic in order to keep the air clear and protect the respiratory health of the vulnerable. 

The call comes following a number of complaints to the County Council’s environmental health team about the burning of garden and household waste which is causing smoke pollution in neighbouring gardens.

The authority is now issuing an appeal for residents to be considerate of their neighbours and not to light bonfires, especially as exposure to smoke can exacerbate respiratory conditions.

If residents are to have BBQs they are asked to be very mindful of where they are situated and keep them well away from their neighbour’s fences and windows. 

Liz Morgan, Director of Public Health at Northumberland County Council said: “We know there are many people throughout the county  who are shielding because of a serious medical condition or having to self-isolate for other reasons, so we would ask people to consider their neighbours and those around them who could be adversely affected by smoke and fumes from a fire.

“COVID-19 can cause significant respiratory problems for people who contract the virus and when they are trying to manage existing long term conditions at home and following health advice by opening windows as much as possible, smoke from neighbouring properties or nearby allotments can be very unpleasant as well as causing breathing difficulties to become much worse. It is really important that we all consider others at this time. ”

County Councillor John Riddle, cabinet member with responsibility for public protection said: “We have seen throughout this pandemic the very strong community spirit in Northumberland with residents  pulling together to support each other through this crisis.

“At the moment, while we’re staying at home more than usual, concerns have been raised about the smoke nuisance caused by people burning garden waste and lighting bonfires.

“We’re asking if people could also support their neighbours by not lighting bonfires which can make life unpleasant for others.  We appreciate that bulky waste collections have been paused and our recycling centres temporarily closed, but I hope people can work with us on this and please hold onto their  waste until these facilities are operational again.”

Please use your household and recycling bins as much as possible and consider composting garden waste, if you are not already signed up to the council’s garden waste collection service. Alternately, garden waste can be bagged and stored for disposal once restrictions are lifted.
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