Bonfire night warning as simple mistake could cost you £50,000 or even face prison

THE Environment Agency are warning against the dangers of garden bonfires and how a bonfire could leave you with a £50,000 fine – or even prison.

It is predicted that hundreds of thousands of bonfires will be lit next weekend as Brits mark Guy Fawkes Night, with fire crews being up to four times as busy on November 5.

The Environment Agency has asked people planning on having bonfires at home to ensure they are only using clean, non-commercial waste, or they could be at risk for a £50,000 fine.

The burning of most types of waste is illegal in the UK, and can cause pollution which could be extremely harmful to family, friends and neighbours.

Sam Pickard of the Environment Agency said: “Bonfires are not to be used for a seasonal clear-out of your rubbish. It is not an excuse to get rid of difficult to dispose of rubbish by burning it yourself or asking others to do it for you.

“We want to encourage people to make sure they dispose of their waste legally and safely at their recycling centre or through their doorstep collections. And if you are responsible for a bonfire, when you are doing your checks for wildlife also look to see if anyone has added rubbish to your bonfire.”

The Environment Agency suggests to those planning on hosting a bonfire to ensure they only burn small amounts of paper and leaves, untreated wood and cardboard, and that all waste must be kept securely to avoid the £50,000 fine.

"In fact, it can even be a criminal offence and lead to a fine of up to £50,000 or even a prison sentence."

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service have released a video warning of the dangers of garden fires and how they could even result in prison time.

The Nottingham-based Firefighters have said: "Many people think that a garden fire is the most effective way to get rid of garden rubbish and household rubbish.

"By having a fire in your garden not only are you increasing the chances of having fire spreading to your house and you getting injured but you are also causing a nuisance to your neighbours.

In Derbyshire, firefighters were called out to 225 garden fires in this last year, with calls for fire-related incidents increasing substantially around Bonfire Night.

Steve Ratcliffe, station manager at Derbyshire Fire and Rescue told Derbyshire Live " We have seen an increase in garden fires across the whole county.

"It has been quite a considerable increase and there has been a number of factors behind them. Lockdown through COVID has led a lot more people to be at home and a lot more people to tack garden jobs at home."

Steve clarified what makes a garden fire illegal by saying: "The legal position really is around black smoke and the smoke you produce from your garden fire.

Rural policing Pc Martin Beck said: “We work closely with our partner agencies to keep our communities and environment safe and we need the public’s help, support and co-operation to do this.

“We want everyone to have a fun and safe bonfire night and fully support the message that the Environment Agency is sharing.”

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