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Waste cheats beware

Remember, remember the 5 November – the Environment Agency will be on the lookout for waste cheats using bonfire night as a cover to flytip or burn waste illegally.

Martin Brocklehurst, Head of Waste Strategy at the Environment Agency, said: “Anyone plotting to fly-tip waste on community bonfires or illegally burn waste beware. Our enforcement officers will be out in force. We want to make sure people enjoy bonfire night and at the same time make sure all bonfires are legitimate and have as little impact as possible on air quality and our environment.

“Burning wastes such as plastics and demolition waste is against the law and those who disregard the rules are not only harming our environment but risk a hefty fine and damage to their reputation.”

In the past the Environment Agency has successfully prosecuted companies and individuals found to be burning waste illegally under the guise of Guy Fawkes. In one such case, a huge bonfire billowing thick smoke across the M4 motorway prompted investigations by the Environment Agency. Officers found a skip hire company burning items including metal, plastics and polystyrene, equivalent in size to 15 articulated lorries parked side-by-side, being burnt over a four-day period at the site.

Offences in both November 2002 and November 2003 resulted in the company and one of its employees being ordered to pay £20,000 in fines for unlawful keeping and disposal of waste. The Environment Agency used aerial footage showing the ferocity of the fire as evidence in court of the damage caused to the environment.

The Environment Agency stressed legitimate bonfires like small single bonfires at homes and organised bonfire events, such as charity and village events are not affected. However people are reminded not to burn certain materials which may be harmful to the environment or human health.

The Environment Agency's top tips for what to burn and what NOT to put on your bonfire:

Only burn dry garden waste like untreated wood and branches. Small amounts of leaves, card and paper can be use to for kindling
Do NOT burn plastics, oils, household rubbish, aerosols, rubber tyres or anything containing foam or paint
Never use old engine oil, methylated spirit or petrol to light the fire. If you're unsure about whether you can put something on your bonfire, give the Environment Agency a call on 08708 506 506 for a full list of what you can and cannot put on the bonfire. The Environment Agency's top tips for anyone organising a legitimate bonfire party for Guy Fawkes' night: use safe, non-toxic material that comes from a known source
avoid burning of plastics, aerosols, tyres or cannisters as they may produce toxic fumes and some containers may explode causing injury remember burning of construction and business waste on your bonfire is illegal and you could face prosecution if you're caught doing so build your bonfire as close as you can to 5 November or the day of your event to guard against fly-tippers dumping on the fire site and to reduce the risk that wildlife might get inside. be considerate – think about where you have your bonfire and how big it is – avoid producing excessive amounts of smoke and make sure it doesn't cause impact on your neighbours
Anyone who is unsure of the correct way to store or dispose of waste can get free, more detailed advice from the Environment Agency by calling 08708 506 506 or online at www.environment-agency.gov.uk.

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