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Complaints about bonfires rocket 500% during lockdown

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Complaints about bonfires in the borough have rocketed by more than 500 per cent since households were locked down due to the coronavirus, it has been revealed.

Dudley Council environmental health bosses have received 123 complaints since March 23, at a rate of more than five a day. That compares to just 20 between March 23 and April 15 last year - a rise of 515 per cent.

Although bonfires are not banned in the borough, residents are being asked to show consideration for neighbours and refrain from burning waste for the duration of the outbreak.

Burning waste causes smoke and unpleasant smells, which cause air pollution. More importantly it could have a serious impact on the health of neighbours, especially if they have conditions which puts them at a greater risk.

Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said:

The rise in the number of complaints about bonfires since the lockdown is staggering. Moreover, as it only covers official complaints made to the council, I suspect it is only the tip of the iceberg bearing in mind all the comments I have seen on social media about the issue.
It shows the strength of feeling, that it is something a large amount of residents are upset and unhappy about, and I completely understand that.
Now more than ever, we need to be considerate of our neighbours. With many of us confined to our homes, it is really important we access fresh air as much as possible whether through an open window or enjoying our gardens.
Garden fires can cause a real nuisance and could potentially impact on the wellbeing of someone who may have a health complication that you’re unaware of. At a time when our colleagues in the NHS are facing unprecedented pressures, we need to avoid behaviour and activity that could add to their workload.
We all need to think of others during these unprecedented times. We appeal to all residents to compost where they can or bag and store garden waste until our normal garden waste collections resume.
I’d like to thank everyone for bearing with us as we navigate through these difficult times.

Dudley residents can order compost bins at a reduced rate via external companies. Further details can be found at www.dudleyrecycles.org.uk.

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