Brookmans Park Newsletter
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Council advice on garden bonfires
A leaflet entitled 'Bonfires - Be A Good Neighbour' has been published by Welwyn Hatfield Council.
It states that lighting bonfires to dispose of rubbish should be avoided and says that doing so is bad for the environment and often causes a nuisance.
The document urges people to consider their neighbours before burning garden waste, sets out the legal position regarding bonfires, sets out alternatives and explains how to complain.
The issue has led to some heated debate in this site's 'Have Your Say' section.
The following is the text taken from the Welwyn Hatfield leaflet and reproduced as printed.
Beginning of text from Welwyn Hatfield District Council's leaflet Bonfires - Be A Good Neighbour which is available from council offices and will be posted to you free of charge.
After a clear out in the house of a tidy up in the garden you may be left with a heap of rubbish and feel that the best way of getting rid of it is to have a bonfire but before you strikes the match STOP AND THINK …!
REMEMBER YOUR NEIGHBOURS
Smoke is unpleasant and prevents people from enjoying their gardens, from opening their windows or hanging out washing, but a bonfire can also release harmful pollutants into the air which can affect the health of you and others, especially those with respiratory problems.
YOU COULD BE BREAKING THE LAW
Under the Environmental Protection Act it is an offence to produce smoke which causes a nuisance and the District Council could serve a Notice requiring you to stop having bonfires – if you continue to cause a smoke nuisance you could be fined up to £2,000.
Anyone who allows smoke from a bonfire to drift across a road could also face a fine of up to £2,000 under the Highways Act.
DO YOU NEED TO HAVE A BONFIRE?
Instead of causing pollution, you can save money by producing your own COMPOST. Compost as much garden rubbish as possible. A properly built compost heap will deal with most garden waste, leaves, grass cuttings, plus kitchen waste such as vegetable peelings and food scraps and even paper and cardboard in small quantities. Advice on composting is available from most gardening books.
If you are unable to compost garden waste due to lack of space etc, special collection garden waste sacks are available from all the main Council Offices (there is a charge for this service). These heavy duty sacks should be tied and labelled and will be collected along with your household refuse.
Alternatively you could take your garden waste together with any other rubbish to Cole Green Household Waste Site, situated on the A414, Mill Green to Hertford Road.
LIGHTING BONFIRES TO DISPOSE OF RUBBISH SHOULD BE AVOIDED. IT IS BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND OFTEN CAUSES A NUISANCE.
IF YOU DO LIGHT A FIRE ensure that only dry material is burnt as a quick hot fire will produce much less smoke than if damp, green material is burnt. Never add household rubbish, aerosols, batteries, foam filled furniture, rubber tyres of old engine oil to the fire. Using petrol or paraffin to start a fire is DANGEROUS and could cause an explosion.
AVOID LIGHTING A BONFIRE on damp, windless days and in the evening around sunset when smoke will hang in the air. Don't light fires when the wind will carry smoke over other people's property or over roads.
NEVER leave a bonfire unattended and never leave it to smoulder. Douse it with soil or water.
HOW TO COMPLAIN
If a neighbour lights smokey bonfires on a regular basis and you find it offensive firstly speak to the owner of the bonfire. Although you may find this approach embarrassing, if you explain the problem in a friendly manner, your neighbour will be made aware of it and less bad feeling will be caused than if the Council becomes involved.
If this approach fails and the problem continues you can contact Welwyn Hatfield District Council's Environmental Health Department who will be able to advise you on what further action could be taken.
If you do feel that regular bonfires are causing a nuisance start to keep a record, including dates and times and the effect that it is having on you. This information will be useful in further action if necessary.
End of text from Welwyn Hatfield District Council's leaflet Bonfires - Be A Good Neighbour which is available from council offices and will be posted to you free of charge.
If you want to discuss this issue you can use the form in the 'Have Your Say' section. Or alternatively you can take part in the poll at the top of this page.
July 27 2001
Anger over summer evening bonfires - July 24, 2001