The Environment Agency is asking people planning a Guy Fawkes bonfire to make sure they only burn paper, leaves, wood and cardboard and that it is kept securely before being burned.
Every year families use old bits of furniture to build up a bonfire and stuff the Guy with scraps of used foam or old clothing. But it is important to remember the burning of most types of waste is illegal. Setting fire to treated wood, tyres, plastics, rubber and oil can seriously harm health and pollute the environment.
It is also important to prevent others from dumping illegal waste on your bonfire by keeping it secure; some people will use Bonfire Night as an excuse to burn old furniture, mattresses or even household rubbish.
If you’re organising a bonfire night this week make sure you know where the bonfire material has come from and that it’s suitable to burn; you should only burn clean, non-commercial waste
Ian Withers, for the Environment Agency in Wessex, said: ‘Burning certain types of material can cause pollution and damage people’s health. We want people to enjoy themselves but the uncontrolled 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 are urged to read Environment Agency advice on GOV.UK to make sure they are disposing of waste on bonfires safely and legally. People face a fine of up to £50,000 for illegally managing waste.
If anyone sees any suspicious activities they should contact the Environment Agengy on 0800 80 70 60 or if you suspect illegal activity report it anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.