Northamptonshire residents are being urged not to burn garden waste during the coronavirus lockdown, with an increase in bonfires posing health risks and heaping pressure on emergency crews.
Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service (NFRS) have reported a surge in callouts to bonfires that have got out of hand in recent weeks, while burning waste at home also creates air pollution that could harm people nearby who may already have breathing difficulties due to COVID-19.
Some councils in Northamptonshire operate Smoke Control Areas, where bonfires are already banned. And while there is no official ban in other parts of the county, residents are being strongly urged not to burn garden waste at home.
With Household Waste and Recycling Centres closed in support of the Government’s stay at home message and restrictions on all but essential travel, The Northamptonshire Waste Partnership is asking residents not to carry out big garden projects that might create additional waste that cannot be disposed of or safely stored at home.
The Partnership, which promotes responsible waste management on behalf of councils across the county, is also asking people to consider home composting as an alternative solution for their garden waste, with a range of discounts on home composting equipment available to Northamptonshire residents at www.getcomposting.com
Councillor Tim Allebone, Chairman of the Northamptonshire Waste Partnership, said: “We realise the changes to waste and recycling services during these unprecedented times might cause disposal issues for some, but it is more important than ever for us to be considerate of our neighbours.
“With so many people confined to their homes, it can be impossible to escape the smoke and unpleasant odour caused by a bonfire. They can also become out of control or cause accidents, putting extra pressure on the emergency services.
“Please think of others and either stack or bag up excess garden waste, rather than burning it. This is also an excellent opportunity to consider home composting and I would urge people to visit www.getcomposting.com to see some of the fantastic discounts being offered to residents of Northamptonshire.”
Lisa Bryan, Prevention Manager with NFRS, said: “In recent weeks we have seen a definite surge in the numbers of bonfires we have been called out to. They can so easily spread out of control and can have devastating consequences to surrounding property, not to mention the risk to people. We would strongly urge people not to have bonfires at home.
"Bonfires have also prompted calls of concern to the Fire Service from members of the public who spot smoke coming from bonfires in their neighbourhoods.
“I also want to emphasise the importance of not burning household waste as this can produce toxic smoke and have health implications for those nearby."
People with concerns about smoke from neighbours setting bonfires on a frequent or regular basis should contact their local District or Borough Council.