Hounslow discourages residents from lighting bonfires

Hounslow Council has issued a strong message today discouraging residents from burning their household rubbish, even on their own premises.

Published: Wednesday, 15th April 2020

Image of of a burning bonfire.

Cllr Guy Lambert, Cabinet Member for Highways, Recycling and Trading Companies at Hounslow Council said: “While the lighting of modest sized bonfires in back gardens is not illegal, if they cause an odour or dust nuisance to the environment as a whole or even just to their next door neighbours, they can be prosecuted under the Environmental Protection Act.  If their bonfire produces dark smoke caused usually by burning plastics, it will be dealt with through the Clean Air Act 1993.

“We appeal to all residents to avoid disposing of waste on a bonfire as the smoke causes air pollution and has potential health effects for you and your neighbours especially if they contracted the Covid-19 virus. Fellow residents who are self-isolating may rely on fresh air from open windows as they are unable to leave their homes. Avoid doing any clear-outs, as this will likely increase the amount of waste and recycling you generate, but if you do need to dispose of larger items, please use our Bulky Waste collection service which continues to run as normal. For more information.

“Persistent offenders will be prosecuted, and we have the power to issue fines of up to £20,000 for commercial burning or up to £5,000 for residential bonfires. There is no bonfire policy on allotment sites but we discourage domestic bonfires by promoting alternatives such as composting and encouraging people to sign up to the paid for Garden Waste Collection service  If signing up to the garden waste service is not an option, please consider whether you can store garden waste safely on your property until a later date. For guidance on home composting”.

Space Waye Recycling and Refuse Centre remains closed to the public as are other west London recycling sites, in accordance with essential travel and social distancing guidance.

According to the latest air quality improvements reports, in some cases pollution had reduced by as much as 30% with particular improvements in Chiswick, Heston and Brentford.  This is likely to be due to a significant reduction in vehicular traffic using the network, particularly towards the end of the month as movement restrictions were ramped up.  Air quality data for Hounslow can be accessed online.

Whilst recorded pollution is expected to continue to fall in April, we did however observe a high level of pollution recorded on Thursday 9 April.  This was likely to have been exacerbated by the still weather we are currently enjoying, which acts to trap pollution and prevent dispersal. Hence residents are being asked to defer from lighting bonfires and burning waste of any sorts.  It would also be beneficial to reduce the use of wood burning stoves.

Hounslow Council’s policy on all its air pollutants is as follows:

Open Fireplaces:

The Clean Air Act enables local authorities to declare a smoke control area within which the burning of coal, wood or other non-authorised fuels on open fires is banned.

We have changed the existing smoke control orders from 2000 and have created another new order covering the whole of Hounslow.

Burning coal, wood or other unauthorised fuel on open fires:

We receive complaints about smoke nuisance where coal or wood is burnt on open fireplaces. Offenders are informed that their actions are illegal and this is normally sufficient to stop the practice. If necessary we will prosecute if offences are repeated.

Construction dust:

Dust from construction and demolition activities can often be a problem especially during dry weather conditions.

We control the amount of dust and emissions from construction and demolition by working alongside the London Councils Best Practice Guidance.

For further information on how we advise our developers and contractors on reducing the amount of dust emission in the borough, download 'monitoring the pollutants' document, available from this page on our website

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