Residents asked to avoid lighting bonfires during coronavirus crisis

PUBLISHED: 3 April 2020

Date issued: 3 April 2020

Colchester Borough Council is calling on residents to consider their own health and that of their neighbours by not having bonfires where possible during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

People are asked to avoid lighting fires in case others living near them have had their breathing affected due to the virus or have other respiratory problems, such as asthma or COPD, that could be worsened by smoke.

Although garden waste collections have been suspended temporarily to ensure frontline services continue and staff can adhere to the government guidance issued on social distancing, the council is asking for residents’ cooperation in protecting everyone’s health by not burning their waste while they wait to have it collected.

Councillor Martin Goss, Portfolio Holder for Waste, Environment and Transportation, said: “Over the last few weeks we have seen communities come together to help and support our most vulnerable residents. We’re asking if people could also support their neighbours by not lighting bonfires while the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Smoke can cause a risk to people’s health, so avoiding fires will reduce the chance of people having their airways affected and avoid further burden on the NHS.

“We know it's inconvenient with tips closed & recycling collections paused to continue to provide essential services, but I hope that people can work with us on this and please hold onto their garden waste or use a home composting system until we are able to start collecting again.”

Some tips to reduce garden waste include:

  • add garden waste to their home composter or ask their neighbour(s) about adding it to theirs
  • use grass cuttings as mulch
  • cut up and compact their garden cuttings and clipping as much as possible to reduce the volume and store their garden waste
  • postpone some/all of their gardening tasks until the service resumes

For more tips on how to reduce, reuse and store your recycling please visit the council’s website.

Councils can take enforcement action if smoke becomes a statutory nuisance, which can result in a fine up to a maximum of £5,000.

Information about how to prevent a smoke nuisance and how to report issues to the council’s environmental protection team can be found here

For updates on all council services, go to

Page last reviewed: 3 April 2020


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