Purbeck - bonfires
Contrary to popular belief, there are no specific times of the day when bonfires may or may not be lit within the Purbecks.
Simplified, the law says that no one may have a bonfire if the smoke from it will cause a nuisance to other people. If someone does cause a nuisance proceedings may be taken and the person can be fined up to £5,000.
It is unnecessary for most people to have bonfires, household refuse is collected by SITA.
Refuse and waste
Bulky and garden refuse can go the Civic Amenity sites at Westminster road, Wareham (although there is currently approval being sought for a waste amenity site at Prospect Crescent, Swanage). The council can often help those without transport, or the elderly or infirm, by collecting household furniture items for a charge and this service is known as a 'special collection'. This service does not extend to the collection of garden waste. If you require a 'special collection' please telephone (01929) 556561 to arrange this. However, many things can be recycled and the best example of recycling is the compost heap.
Woody material can be shredded and used for composting or mulching. If you have a lot of woody waste then shredders can be bought or hired and some allotment societies have their own. However, do consider the possibility of preventing a smoke nuisance by creating a noise nuisance.
In many parts of Purbeck, it is not possible to have a bonfire without causing a nuisance because gardens are so small. However, a bonfire can be a convenient way of getting rid of waste or perhaps you want a bonfire for recreational purposes -on Guy Fawkes night for instance.
Guidelines for bonfires
If a bonfire is the best practical option for disposing of garden waste, the following guidelines may minimise the chance of annoying your neighbours or causing a serious nuisance.
Only burn dry material
Never burn household rubbish, rubber tyres or anything containing plastic, foam or paint
Never use old engine oil, meths or petrol to light of encourage the fire
Avoid lighting a fire in unsuitable weather conditions. Smoke hangs in the air on damp still days and in the evening. If it is windy smoke may be blown into neighbour gardens and across roads
Avoid burning at weekends and on bank holidays when people want to enjoy their gardens
Where possible inform the neighbours of you intention to have a fire. This will give them the opportunity to shut windows, bring in washing etc
Never leave a fire unattended or leave it to smoulder
If you're bothered by smoke then approach your neighbour to highlight the problem, they may be unaware as to the distress they are causing. If this fails, you can report the nuisance online. Alternatively you can contact the Public Health Team. Your complaint will be investigated under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Under the duty of care provisions contained within the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the Environment Agency permits only the burning of green waste which has been produced on site and no other materials. However, Purbeck District Council can take enforcement action on any commercial/industrial operations if they cause a statutory smoke nuisance. This action can result in a fine of up to £20,000.
Name: Public Health & Housing Services (Purbeck)
Tel: 01929 556561
Fax: 01929 557351
Full details for Public Health & Housing Services (Purbeck)