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'Concern of the Week' - Garden Bonfires

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There is no law banning or restricting the lighting of bonfires in gardens. Many people assume that there are specific bye-laws to prohibit bonfires. There aren't. The occasional bonfire or barbecue should not generally cause a major problem to anyone.

If you are going to have a bonfire, it is only fair to warn your neighbours, they are much less likely to complain if you take the time to advise them and if you are reasonable about the time when you burn the rubbish.

We all know that a bonfire can amount to a "nuisance", albeit that there are no restrictions on the time of day, or day of the week. With the summer holidays in full swing, with the Bank Holiday Weekend looming and with many of us having visitors, it is no wonder that we might be more than irritated when a neighbour's garden bonfire prevents the use and enjoyment of our gardens. It is also a nuisance when smoke drifts across into a neighbour's property and they cannot then open their windows or hang out their washing.

CWaC do offer some good bonfire guidelines
* avoid lighting a fire in unsuitable weather conditions — when it is windy, cold, calm days and in the evening
* avoid burning at weekends and on bank holidays when people want to enjoy their gardens
* avoid burning when the air pollution in your area is 'high' or 'very high'
* only burn dry material
* never burn household rubbish, rubber tyres, or anything containing plastic, foam or paint
* never use old engine oil, meths or petrol to light the fire or to encourage it
* never leave a fire unattended or leave it to smoulder — douse it with water if necessary

So — let's all be courteous neighbours and think of our near neighbours in particular. We all want to enjoy our gardens as much as possible before the nights start to draw in yet again. We all want to throw open our windows and we all want to hang washing outside at this time of the year.

Think twice before lighting that bonfire or think of another way in which you can recyle your waste. There are far less environmentally damaging alternatives to bonfires available such as composting and recycling. Very little garden material actually needs to be placed on a bonfire; most waste can be composted (even the tough stuff can be shredded and put in the compost).

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