EA urges safe bonfire practice
Communities and homes across the UK will hold bonfire parties this week to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night (5 November), with many including a guy dressed in old clothing on their bonfires. Cultural events such as this are not subject to the usual environmental permits for the open burning of waste, as long as certain criteria regarding the size and safety of the fire are followed.
But the EA has emphasised that it is illegal to burn most types of waste, and that setting fire to treated wood, tyres, plastics, glass, metal, rubber and oil can seriously harm health and pollute the environment.
Old furniture, mattresses and household rubbish are among the items that the EA stresses should not be included as bonfire fuel, while only small amounts of paper, leaves, wood and cardboard should be used. Finally, only clean, non-commercial waste can be burnt at events.
Those holding events should also make sure that bonfires are kept secure, so that others cannot dump illegal waste on the fire. People found illegally managing waste could face a fine of up to £50,000.
Incorrect practice can damage the environment and people’s health
Megan Evans an Environment Agency Officer in Devon and Cornwall, said: “Burning certain types of material can cause pollution and damage people’s health. We want people to enjoy themselves but the uncontrolled and excessive burning of the wrong waste can cause pollution and harm health.
“We want to encourage people to make sure they dispose of their waste legally and safely, and be aware that their community bonfire could be targeted by unscrupulous waste businesses who want to find somewhere to dispose of waste, resulting in the illegal burning of commercial waste.
“Organisers should ensure that they know where the bonfire material has come from and it is suitable. If anyone sees any suspicious activities they should contact us on 0800 807060 or report it anonymously to Crimestoppers.”