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SITA helps dispose of illegal bonfire waste

Leading north east recycling and resource management company SITA UK is again supporting an initiative which aims to increase public safety and save lives in the run up to this year’s Bonfire Night.

For the fourth year running, the company has agreed to recycle around 17 tonnes of bonfire material collected from illegally constructed bonfires in the region as the annual Guy Fawkes festival nears.

The initiative is a joint partnership with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, Northumbria Police and North Tyneside Council, and together they are reminding people about the dangers of illegal bonfires and are working to reduce anti-social behaviour. As a key part of the initiative, residents are being urged not to build unauthorised bonfires as they will be spotted by officers and dismantled by the council.

Illegal bonfires built on land without permission can pose a safety threat to nearby homes, businesses and vehicles. North Tyneside Council’s environmental protection team, accompanied by Community Support Officers, will dismantle and remove any illegal bonfires.

The bonfire waste will be taken to SITA UK’s North Tyneside Transfer Station where it will be sorted, with any green material being composted.

In the lead-up to Bonfire Night, North Tyneside Council has also been delivering safety presentations to Year Nine pupils at borough schools.

John Grainger, SITA UK north east regional manager said: "SITA UK is happy to support such a valuable campaign. Illegal bonfires are potentially very dangerous, so when we were asked to help with the disposal of some of the material we immediately agreed to assist."

Keith Carruthers, station manager for North Tyneside South Community Fire Station, 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 working with our partners to dispose of bonfires before they are lit and we are grateful to SITA UK for its help with this."

Cllr Ed Hodson, North Tyneside Council’s cabinet member for the environment, said: "We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable bonfire night. That’s why our team is delivering safety presentations to schools and is ready to deal with any reports of illegal bonfires before and on November 5.

"We’re pleased that, once again, SITA UK will be helping us dispose of the materials that are collected from these illegal sites."

North Tyneside chief inspector Max Black said: "We don’t want to stop people having fun on Bonfire Night. But we do want people to enjoy the evening in a safe way. That’s why we’re encouraging people to attend organised displays, rather than build an illegal bonfire and risk their own safety.

"Police officers, community support officers and the local authority will be on the look out for bonfires under construction so they can be removed at the earliest opportunity."

Members of the public are being encouraged to report illegal bonfires to their local authority. To find out more about how to stay safe this Bonfire Night, visit www.twfire.gov.uk/bonfire

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