Residents asked not to burn waste

People living in north Oxfordshire are being asked not to light bonfires to get rid of their waste during the Coronavirus emergency.

Published: Tuesday, 14th April 2020

Cherwell District Council is asking residents to store any large batches of waste until the home and garden excess services resume; or until Oxfordshire County Council’s household waste recycling centres reopen. Alternatively, people may use the bulky waste service, which was resumed last week.

Residents are asked to put suitable garden waste in their brown bins or to consider home composting and ensure that their usual recyclable materials are added to the right bin.

Cllr Dan Sames, Cherwell’s lead member for clean and green said: "I urge residents thinking of burning a bonfire not to do so, and above all, to think about fire risk and the health implications and of the smoke on their neighbours, especially during the current situation. 

“You can help us deal with waste by putting the right thing in the right bin, composting garden waste, or holding other material to dispose of safely once normal service resumes for any amount of waste too big to fit in the kerbside bins."

Burning household items can create excessive smoke and noxious fumes that can harm the environment and public health. Smoke also prevents neighbours from enjoying their gardens, opening windows or hanging washing out. 

Coronavirus is a respiratory disease and people’s breathing could be worsened due to smoke inhalation. Avoiding all bonfires will reduce the chance of people having their health affected and avoid a further burden on the NHS.

There are no laws against having a bonfire, but there are laws to address the nuisance they can cause. The council can take action under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and could serve an abatement notice if officers are satisfied that a nuisance is being caused.

Anyone who has experienced a new nuisance from bonfires in their neighbourhood since the coronavirus outbreak began, can report it online using this form.

If bonfire smoke is drifting across a road and endangers traffic or causes injury, people should call 999 to report it to the police.

The bulky waste service can be booked here.