Council clears the air with fire-pit health and safety plea

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Liverpool City Council is calling on residents to think of their neighbours and avoid lighting fires in their gardens during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Smoke nuisance can be caused by family barbeques, chimeneas and other wood burners or fire pits, and by people burning garden or household waste. These fires also contribute to local pollution levels.

The city’s Household Waste Recycling Centres now offering a restricted service and green waste collection service are due to begin again next week, to help alleviate problems with garden waste.
Smoke inhalation can have an immediate and harmful effect on people with health problems such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis.

Similar concerns have also been raised in other parts of the country about the problems caused by smoke nuisance for people with breathing difficulties and those suffering from coronavirus.

The council is urging residents to think about their neighbours and how they might suffer if they light a fire in their garden or allotment, even barbecue smoke could create problems for those nearby.
Liverpool City Council can take enforcement action against those who light bonfires regularly and cause a nuisance to their neighbours.

Since the coronavirus lockdown began, Liverpool has seen a large reduction in pollution levels, mainly as a result of fewer car journeys.

As well as creating smoke nuisance for neighbours, garden fires contribute to those levels of pollution which are also known to harm people’s health.
It is not an offence to light a fire in your garden. It is, however, an offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to cause a statutory smoke nuisance. A statutory nuisance happens when smoke causes unreasonable interference with a person’s use or enjoyment of their property. Smoke nuisance can occur at any time of the day or night.
Residents can use the council’s online form to report bonfires that are causing a statutory nuisance: https://liverpool.gov.uk/contact-us/service-area/environmental-health/

Tips for dealing with garden waste:

· It’s much better for your neighbours and the environment to compost garden waste instead of burning it.

· Leave your lawn for longer before you mow it

· Let the grass grow to create a mini meadow – it’s great for wildlife

· Make a mulch with your grass clippings

· Make compost at home and give yourself a free supply of nutrient-rich soil

· Spread out grass cuttings to dry for a few days before putting in your green bin – this avoids making the bin heavy and reduces any smells from rotting.

· If you are cutting back trees and bushes, use the branches as supports for other plants later in the year.

Liverpool’s two Household Waste Recycling Centres have now re-opened and are offering a restricted service.

The council will begin its garden waste collection service again on Monday 11 May.

· For more information about what Liverpool City Council is doing to improve air quality across the city, visit the Let’s Clear The Air website: https://letscleartheairliverpool.co.uk/

Cllr Sharon Connor, Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Waste and the Environment, said:
“If you’re thinking of lighting a fire of any kind in your garden, please don’t. People staying inside their homes are advised to keep their windows open to get some fresh air, so please spare a thought for those with respiratory problems or coronavirus symptoms.
“We need people to think about our neighbours and how they might suffer if you light a fire in your garden or allotment, even barbecue smoke could create problems for those nearby.
“Liverpool City Council can take enforcement action against those who light bonfires regularly and cause a nuisance to their neighbours.”