It’s well known that fireworks and bonfires can cause accidents, but we rarely think about the environmental impact associated with Bonfire Night celebrations as well as other risks bonfires, and fireworks more generally, can cause. Air pollution already poses a significant risk to our health and the environment, but on Bonfire Night particularly, we see a dramatic increase in particulate pollution.
The fumes and excess smoke released into the air can travel a long distance and can cause respiratory irritation, shortness of breath, or even trigger asthma attacks. Whilst these pollution episodes are short term they can last several days depending upon the weather.
Last year’s celebrations left fine particulate pollution in Warrington that was approximately four times greater than typical levels. Fireworks and bonfires can also cause great distress to pets, local wildlife and people who are especially sensitive to noise.
The council is asking residents to be considerate of neighbours, their own health and safety and the local environment by attending a public organised event instead of having their own bonfires or fireworks.
However, if you do choose to have your own bonfire, you must not burn household waste due to the associated danger and pollution it produces. Only burn clean, dry wood, take extra care and safety precautions and be mindful that excessive smoke could cause a nuisance or health risk to your neighbours.
The council is also working with community safety partners, including Cheshire Police, to help address any unsafe or illegal bonfires following a small amount of anti-social behaviour in pockets of the borough in previous years. This will include visits to specific parts of Warrington, including some schools, to promote awareness of the important safety aspects of bonfire night.
Cllr Hitesh Patel, cabinet member for housing, environment and public protection said: “This Bonfire Night, please consider your neighbours and the impact that your actions may have on their health and wellbeing.
“The noise and disruption caused by fireworks can be distressing for people, especially those with health conditions, but it can also be extremely frightening to local pets and animals.
“If any resident does have existing health problems then we advise that on bonfire night to keep all windows closed to reduce any pollution coming in. We also advise that animals are kept inside and owners apply calming techniques, such as turning on the radio to distract your pet from the noise or making them a cosy den where they feel safe and secure.”
For more information about the Warrington community safety partnership, visit warrington.gov.uk/community-safety-partnership and for more information on pollution and air quality, visit warrington.gov.uk/airquality