Unfortunately, East Farndon suffers from people lighting bonfires on a regular basis, particularly on warm and sunny days, when residents look forward to enjoying their gardens and the surrounding countryside. The Parish Council is asking everyone to be aware of the following guidelines and act responsibly when considering whether or not to have a bonfire.
It is not illegal to light bonfires, and there are no official restrictions on when or how often they can be burned. The main concerns with bonfires in general however are safety, environmental damage, mainly from excessive smoke, any nuisance caused to neighbours or the public, and any danger to wildlife.
If you decide that lighting a bonfire is necessary then please follow these guidelines:
- When lighting a bonfire, only burn dry material. Damp vegetation does not burn well as it produces large volumes of smoke and smoulders for long periods of time. The burning of this type of waste causes the most complaints and so it should be disposed of in other ways.
- Before having a bonfire, let your neighbours know. This gives them an opportunity to shut their windows and bring any washing indoors.
- Never burn household rubbish, rubber tyres, anything containing plastic, painted materials, plywood and chipboard, foam or paint.
- Never use old engine oil, meths or petrol to light the fire or encourage it.
- Avoid lighting a fire in unsuitable weather conditions – smoke hangs in the air on damp, still days and in the evening. If it is windy, smoke may be blown into neighbours gardens and across roads.
- Never leave the fire unattended or leave it to smoulder – put it out.
- If a bonfire held on commercial or industrial premises gives rise to dark smoke an offence is committed. The occupier of the land and the person who caused or permitted the smoke can be taken to court and may be fined.
If a bonfire gets out of hand and becomes dangerous call 999 and ask for the Fire Service immediately.
Please be very careful about lighting fires after prolonged perios of warm, dry weather (when surrounding foliage is dry) – fires can spread extremely quickly in those conditions and quickly get out of control.
If the fire is going to be large and a ‘controlled’ burn, fire control should be notified as a courtesy on 01604 797123. Farmers, as a rule, generally do this as it means that a well intended 999 call from someone a mile away will not be responded to. (Fun Fact. If the fire service are called out by anyone to an unattended fire, they must extinguish it.)
West Northamptonshire Council have powers to deal with smoke nuisance from any bonfire and for dark smoke offences on commercial and industrial premises.
For a bonfire to be a legal nuisance WNC would consider the following:
- how much smoke is being created and does it affect nearby properties?
- what is being burnt? – the type of material being burned affects how much smoke is being produced / how noxious the fumes from the smoke are
- how often do the bonfires occur? A single bonfire is unlikely to be a nuisance even though it may cause annoyance to one or more neighbours
You can read more and also raise a compliant to WNC by clicking this link, https://www.westnorthants.gov.uk/environmental-health/smoke-pollution