Calls to stop nuisance bonfires which ‘choke’ out town

Log fire on black background

Log fire on black background - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Complaints over the number of bonfires being lit in Sidmouth has prompted authorities to remind residents to wait until the lockdown is over.

One Sidmouth resident, who wished to not be named, contacted the Herald and said the smoke from one bonfire ‘choked’ the town last week.

They said: “The fire service and East Devon District Council (EDDC) have requested that people not light them during shutdown, but the good residents of Sidmouth are increasingly lighting up.

“I appreciate that green waste is building up, but that’s not the end of the world.

“With the warm weather, windows are open. Houses then fill with acrid smoke.

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“It’s not fair for people that might be struggling to breathe with coronavirus. I have bad lungs, as do others, and it is just miserable.”

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service and EDDC have published guidelines reminding resident to be a nuisance.

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The fire service said they had been called to attend an increasing number of bonfires and asked residents to not light bonfires during the Covid–19 lockdown.

A spokesman said: “Whilst it’s tempting to burn some garden rubbish, please, consider your neighbours and the emergency services who are already stretched and keep our communities safe.”

EDDC said residents should avoid having any bonfires whilst the coronavirus controls were in place as the smoke or smell from them might affect neighbours or aggravate health conditions.

The council is advising residents to cut up their woody garden waste and store it somewhere safe to dry out for the next few months.

The authority added: “We receive many enquiries about bonfires, both from people affected by them and from people wanting to do the right thing.

“Bonfire smoke can be very irritating and it may cause temporary local air pollution issues.

“Some people can be sensitive to smoke and we therefore discourage any burning which might cause smoke drifting onto nearby properties.”

In the meantime, residents are being encouraged to make a home compost.

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