Leading north east waste management and recycling company SITA UK is helping a campaign aimed at increasing public safety and saving lives in the run up to bonfire night this year.
The company has agreed to recycle around 20 tonnes of bonfire material collected from illegally constructed bonfires in North Tyneside in the run up to the 5th of November this year.
The 'Fireworks and bonfires ruin lives in a flash' campaign is being led by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service and Northumbria Police in partnership with local authorities, the ambulance service, the NHS and private sector partners.
The five-week campaign, which is targeted at parents and young people, is designed to remind people about the dangers of illegal bonfires and fireworks misuse, and to reduce anti-social behaviour linked to bonfires and fireworks.
Running alongside the campaign is an initiative to remove illegal bonfires. Those identified are dismantled by members of the Fire & Rescue service and SITA UK, with the bonfire materials taken to the company's Waste Transfer Station in the borough for recycling or disposal.
Members of the public are being encouraged to report illegal bonfires to their local authority or through the dedicated non-emergency number 101.
John Grainger, General Manager for SITA UK in the North East said: “SITA UK is happy to support such a valuable campaign. Illegal bonfires are potentially extremely dangerous, so when we were asked to help with the disposal of some of the material we immediately agreed to assist.
Stephen Walker, Watch Manager at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The bonfire period is traditionally the busiest period of the year for us. It costs us up to £2,000 to put out an illegal bonfire, but the risk to people's lives far outweighs that figure. We are trying to eliminate the problem by disposing of bonfires before they are lit and we are grateful to SITA UK for their help with this.”
Cllr Dave McGarr, cabinet member for the environment at North Tyneside Council, said: “I want everyone to have a safe, accident-free and enjoyable Bonfire Night.
“That's why our teams are currently visiting secondary schools across the borough to explain to pupils the potential dangers that may arise.
“They will also be removing any illegal bonfires both before and on November 5th and we're delighted that SITA UK will be helping us dispose of the materials that are collected from these illegal sites.
“We would always encourage people to attend an organised local fireworks display.”