People who are planning a private celebration on Bonfire Night are asked to consider the environmental impact of any events they stage.
East Suffolk Council is reminding people of the importance to look out for their neighbours and pets, the environment and the local wildlife if planning their own celebrations at home for Bonfire Night this year.
Cllr James Mallinder, East Suffolk Council’s cabinet member for the Environment, said: “We want to encourage everyone who is thinking about celebrating Bonfire Night at home to think carefully about what they’re doing.
“Private events can be risky for the obvious reasons, but they can also cause other problems. Bonfires create air quality issues, particularly if there are far more than usual or if inappropriate materials are burned.
“Please remember that you should never put treated wood, rubber, plastic, foam or paint on a bonfire, and neither should you burn household waste as this can cause pollution and harm to people’s health.”
“I also want to ask people to be extra mindful of local wildlife when lighting their bonfires. Hedgehogs in particular like to reside inside the stacks of materials bonfires are built from, so please make sure you check for any wildlife, or even pets. The best way of doing this is by moving the whole bonfire by hand immediately before lighting it.
“Another area of concern is fireworks, which can cause great distress and harm to pets, farm animals and wildlife. They can also create air quality issues and come in packaging which can lead to unnecessary litter. There are quieter alternatives to normal fireworks, and I’d encourage anyone who is planning to buy fireworks to look into lower impact options, which is safer for the environment and our health.
“It is also important to be considerate of your neighbours, so if you’re planning a bonfire or fireworks, make sure you tell them in advance. This will enable them to take the appropriate steps to prepare themselves, especially if they have pets, are elderly, vulnerable or have children.
“We always want people to have fun, however we do still need to think really carefully about what we do and how we behave, for the health and wellbeing of us all. Thinking about making small changes in our celebrations will have a positive impact on our environment and our communities.”
With the colder winter months coming up, East Suffolk residents are also encouraged to make small changes to improve air quality in their own homes, improving their health and the health of their families. This includes opening windows when cooking or using cleaning products, regularly servicing your boiler to ensure there are no carbon monoxide leaks and avoiding artificial scents in the products used at home.
One of the major contributors to indoor air pollution is the use of open fires and woodburning stoves, which have become more popular in recent years. Making small changes to how you use your open fire or wood-burner, such as only using dry, seasoned wood marked with a ‘Ready to burn’ label, maintaining and servicing your stove, and ensuring your chimney is regularly swept, can significantly improve air quality both within your home and outside.
Outside of the home, an easy way to help reduce air pollution is for drivers to remember to switch off their engine when stationary, especially outside schools.
Cllr Mallinder continued: “Air pollution has serious health impacts with dirty air contributing to 40,000 deaths every year in the UK. We want to raise awareness of the simple things people can do in their everyday lives to improve air quality and encourage everyone to find out more about air pollution, share information with friends and family and help make the air cleaner and healthier for everyone.”
See more guidance on reducing air pollution, including domestic burning.