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Bonfires causing concern during lockdown

Image of a garden bonfire

10 June 2020

Image of a garden bonfireSixty complaints about bonfires have been made to Powys County Council's environmental health officers since the start of lockdown in Wales.

The calls about fires - started at both commercial and domestic properties - are double those made during the same period last year (April and May), when just 28 reports were logged.

The council is concerned about the impact these fires could be having on people suffering from breathing difficulties, as a result of contracting COVID-19, and on those who are shielding at home and are unable to get away from the smoke.

The fires have been reported in all parts of the county, including the following areas: Brecon, Ystradgynlais, Llanfyllin, Knighton, Llanidloes, Rhayader, Builth Wells, Newtown, Llandrindod Wells, Welshpool, Crickhowell, Presteigne, Montgomery and Llanwrtyd Wells.

Cllr James Evans, Portfolio Holder for Regulatory Services, said: "We are asking if people could support their neighbours as well as the emergency services by not lighting bonfires during the COVID-19 lockdown.

"Bonfire smoke has an impact on air quality, it can prevent people from opening their windows and can exacerbate COVID-19 symptoms.

"People also don't realise how quickly a fire can spread, causing serious accidents, damage and disruption to other people."

Although bonfires are not illegal, it can be an offence if they cause a 'statutory nuisance' to your neighbours or you burn materials that give off toxic fumes.

The council will be investigating reports of people lighting nuisance bonfires and will prosecute if necessary.

Anyone with excess waste should store it until they are able to take it to a household waste recycling centre or use a licensed waste carrier.

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