Bonfire warning: Stop burning political items

The bonfire at Monrush.INMM2914-348
The bonfire at Monrush.INMM2914-348

Mid Ulster Council is set to warn local communities not to burn anything of a political or cultural nature on their bonfires.

Draft guidelines for bonfire safety, which have been agreed with other statutory agencies namely the police, the fire service, the Housing Executive and the environment agency, will also prohibit the burning of hazardous waste.

The advice is an attempt by the council to reduce the environmental harm caused by bonfires burning toxic material such as car tyres, and the contentious nature of some bonfire celebrations.

The council has said it recognises the right of residents to celebrate their cultural traditions safely.

“We also recognise the dangers posed to the public and to the environment by the illegal burning of tyres and other hazardous waste at bonfires and celebration events”, said the council in its draft policy, which was revealed at last month’s meeting of the Environment Committee.

“We have developed the guidelines to help promote safety and respect in relation to bonfires and celebration events being held across the Mid Ulster area.”

The council proposes that it will urge bonfire organisers to take into account how their celebrations might affect other cultures and traditions, and also encourage local communities to play their part in the days following the bonfire and help in the clean up.

It warned that there was the potential for serious harm being caused to individuals building the bonfire as well as those attending it, and that the council could not permit the burning of hazardous waste, including tyres, on its property.”