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Bonfire Etiquette

Incinerator smoke

Spring arrived in my garden last Saturday. A beautiful clear sky, yellow daffodils and some early tulips were at their best, the birds were singing, a few butterflies emerged and I spotted 2 queen bumble bees. Perfect. But then my neighbour lit his bonfire. The languid moment turned into a quick dash to grab the washing before it adopted an eau-de- bonfire stench.

So what are the laws about bonfires? A quick look online confirmed that there aren’t any. There are laws for the nuisance they may cause but not for the fires themselves. But do I want to have a “legal” type conversation with my neighbour? Absolutely not but a chat over a cup of tea to reach a friendly agreement may be in order.
The following guidelines should help to prevent any chance of bonfire rage:
–    Dry materials burn quickly and produce little smoke
–    Check the wind to make sure it is light and not blowing towards a road, a thatch or a neighbour’s property. Ideally you want the smoke to disperse upwards, quickly
–    Keep the fire small, adding material often rather than all at once
–    Only burn for a short period of time
–    Consider shredding and composting as an alternative, click here for example equipment

Beehive Composter

And finally – please avoid lighting a bonfire on a rare sunny weekend or Bank Holiday when people want to enjoy their gardens!

Any other thoughts or suggestion?

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2 thoughts on “Bonfire Etiquette”

  1. Mell Howlett says:

    When I was growing up in the 60’s and 70’s it was common knowledge that you NEVER lit a bonfire during the day, out of politeness to neighbours who maybe out in their gardens with babies or young children, along with washing being out, elderly neighbours might also be sitting in the shade enjoying the fine weather, plus a multitude of other reasons, including pets, dogs, rabbits etc being in the garden and not able to get away from the smoke. Having to breathe in smoke from a bonfire it hazardous to health as well as there is nothing worst than bringing washing in that stinks of smoke! So my dad use to always as everyone else did where I was living, check after our evening meal whether there wasn’t any washing out in our neighbours gardens, if there was he would NOT light a bonfire, but do it later on in the evening when there was no washing out, and doing it so late in the evening meant that us kids got to enjoy the fire as the night started to close in, which was fun to sit round and magical. My dad also use to check for hedgehogs and anything else that might have been in the garden waste, especially around the autumn. I think there should be a bonfire code, and that the government should put out an advert on the TV saying how people need to be considerate towards animals and neighbours, and that if they persist they could received a £5,000. Mostly it’s probably out of ignorance and/or not thinking, so a little ad campaign would go a long way to creating harmony around this subject.

  2. Glallotments says:

    Check any piles of bonfire material for hedgehogs, Preferrably move material to be burned in a different location

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