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A spike in trade waste bonfires is being investigated by Stroud District Council

Published: Tuesday, 9 April, 2019

Environmental Health officers at Stroud District Council have received an increasing number of complaints over the last few weeks about illegal waste bonfires on industrial and trade premises.

The burning of trade waste is strictly controlled and can be an offence unless carried out under the auspices of an Environmental Permit or a formal exemption.

The emission of dark smoke from industrial or trade bonfires also constitutes an offence under the Clean Air Act 1993.

Dave Jackson, Environmental Protection Manager for Stroud District Council, said:

"While it may be tempting for businesses to look at quick and easy ways of disposing of waste on a bonfire, we would strongly urge that they dispose of all waste through the proper, legally compliant channels.

"Waste bonfires often contain materials which, when burnt, give off particularly unpleasant smoke and fumes. The resultant air pollution can be both distressing and potentially harmful to residents, particularly those with respiratory problems."

The Council is currently dealing with seven separate occurrences witnessed and investigated over recent weeks. The darkness of the smoke is usually an indicator of materials being present which should not be burnt, for example plastics and rubber.

Should the Council's officers witness such illegal bonfires, they will take action and this can result in companies being taken to court. Penalties can include unlimited fines and prison sentences.

Councillor Simon Pickering, Chair of the SDC Environment Committee, added:


"Our children are calling on us to save the planet from runaway climate change and Stroud District Council has just committed to become carbon neutral by 2030.  

"The Council takes all cases of air pollution very seriously. Those businesses using illegal bonfires to get rid of waste are showing a complete contempt for future generations. We would urge members of the public who witness dark smoke from a bonfire at a commercial site to call Environmental Health promptly on 01453 754478 or"

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