Bonfires on Allotments Objected to by Adjacent Householder

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mugwump083
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Bonfires on Allotments Objected to by Adjacent Householder

Post by mugwump083 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:17 pm

I have one of 200 plus allotments on a one hundred year old allotment site bounded on two sides by public roads with a few houses on the opposite side of the road facing the allotment boundary hedge. The front of the houses are at least 50 feet from the allotment boundary hedge.

A couple of these householders are endlessly intimidating the management committee of the allotments by making complaints and threatening to make reports to the Council every time perfectly normal, reasonable bonfires are lit in the allotments. I experienced this recently when one of these idiots who also (unbelievably) has one of the allotments came over to me a couple of hours after I had lit a smallish bonfire of hedge trimmings & grass & dried weeds etc by which time nearly all the contents of the fire had burned away and the smoke was at a minimum and no more than the smallest boy scout type cooking fire.

This particular person was well known for being a 'bonfire troublemaker'. HIs house was a minimum of 100 yards from my bonfire & more likely about 200 yards. He bitched that his house had been swamped in stinking, toxic smoke for 'several hours' and he had been 'forced' to shut all his windows and all the occupants of the house were 'choking' and they all had asthma. He rapidly became abusive & was clearly one of those 'neighbours from hell' and an absolute weirdo living in some sort of fantasy land whereby he thought he could make complaints about ordinary everyday smells he didn't like. What next, the smell of flowers perhaps, or the farmers fields nearby ?

At this point there was virtually nothing left of my bonfire and it is highly unlikely that any visible smoke whatever reached his house at any point owing to a brisk wind, mostly FROM his house towards me. Although I am sure he may have been able to smell bonfire smoke from time to time as the wind was variable in direction.

The reality for ALL these householders is that they could almost never be swamped in smoke because of their distance from any bonfire but they would be likely to be able to smell bonfire smoke. Does, or could, this (usually quite distant & faint) smell constitute a statutory nuisance & justify complaints to the Council resulting in legal actions ?

Because the management committee of the allotments is terrified it might they have banned bonfires for the entire period between March 29th & October, having previously banned them completely for most of the past year & strenuously issuing warning letters to any allotment holders lighting fires & threatening them with being thrown off the allotments for disobeying allotment rules.

It seems the management committee come across as also believing bonfires are an un-necessary and noxious nuisance & seem to be unaware that throughout the entirety of human history burning agricultural type wood and plant waste in both householders gardens & on farmland has been an essential means of disposing of unwanted waste plant material cluttering up land and posing an uncontrolled fire hazard if left to accumulate without timely, controlled, disposal.

It also seems to have escaped both the allotment’s committee & the complainants notice that until a very small number of years ago virtually every householder in the entire country relied on burning wood, coal or oil to enable them to cook their food & heat domestic water and heat their houses.

Every person has therefore always grown up with the experience of sometimes smelling other householders burning fossils fuels for domestic purposes, local farmers burning plant waste and a large number of householders having occasional bonfires to dispose of garden waste as well as people burning barbecue fires in their gardens to enjoy barbecues in the summer.

It has simply been part of everyday human life since the dawn of time until modern times when warped ‘do-gooders’ became obsessed with very misplaced complaining about ‘environmental issues’ and in so doing often display stunning ignorance, stupidity and downright nastiness towards more normal people.

Fires are part and parcel of human existence and there isn’t a human being alive who doesn’t come across the smell of fires from time to time & it is quite ridiculous to have an expectation that people should somehow be ‘protected’ from the occasional smell of ordinary fires.

ALL of which these unreasonable and ignorant nuisance ‘neighbours from hell’ and the allotment committee seem to think are anti-social activities which are completely un-necessary and should therefore be banned. And so the Allotment committee have, indeed, been banning them.

Are the committee right to do this. Would the Council ever consider those very ordinary & reasonable type allotment bonfires a Statutory Nuisance’ ?

What would a court say of only occasional & perfectly reasonable allotment bonfires which are not frequent or toxic and which can only produce a smell of wood and grass smoke and are too far away to ever be able to swamp any of these houses in anything resembling a meaningful amount of smoke which might then cause washing drying etc to smell unduly ?

Any advice ,anyone?

despair
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Re: Bonfires on Allotments Objected to by Adjacent Householder

Post by despair » Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:40 pm

If someone is burning really dry prunings weeds etc between Oct and Feb i can see no reason for objection as that would go up in a sheet of flame with no stench of smoke

But if idiots are burning a load of wet stuff that does indeed cause horrendous smoke which does indeed cause many people especially asthmatics huge problens then its wrong and i would not blame anyone even 100yds away complaining very loudly

Why does the commitee not organise a dedicated spot for stuff to be dumped and covered and only burn it when its really dry

MacadamB53
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Re: Bonfires on Allotments Objected to by Adjacent Householder

Post by MacadamB53 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:23 pm

Hi mugwump083,

Does, or could, this (usually quite distant & faint) smell constitute a statutory nuisance & justify complaints to the Council resulting in legal actions ?

no

And so the Allotment committee have, indeed, been banning them [bonfires].

Are the committee right to do this.


right? they may or may not have the powers to do this so I don’t know - what was their response when you asked them?

kind regards, Mac

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Re: Bonfires on Allotments Objected to by Adjacent Householder

Post by Roblewis » Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:05 pm

Personally I think the Allotment Management should be providing on site composting or bulk waste collection so that residents do NOT have to suffer smouldering bonfires throughout the night during the summer. For horticultural and garden wastes a composting solution is far more environmentally friendly and in line with the spirit of the Environmental Protection Act and waste control legislation.

Anthracite
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Re: Bonfires on Allotments Objected to by Adjacent Householder

Post by Anthracite » Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:23 am

There's nothing stopping you from having a bonfire as long as you are making effort not to cause undue pollution. Some local authorities provide guidance on best practice, it may be worth looking at the website for yours. I'd imaging it would be much harder to prove a statutory nuisance if you can show that you are following the enforcement authorities own guidance.

https://www.gov.uk/garden-bonfires-rules

From an ethical perspective, I agree with others and somewhat your neighbours position - if you're able to dispose of the waste in some other manner which has less impact on your neighbours and the wider environment as a whole this would be preferable.

A lot of people have bonfires, and through lack of knowledge, end up producing a lot of nasty pollutants. For example, burning;
  • Treated timber - heavy metal emissions including arsenic
  • Manufactured board - formaldehyde emissions
  • Painted or coated wood - chlorine and hydrogen cyanide emissions
  • PVC plastics - chlorine emissions
  • PTFE plastics - hydrogen fluoride emissions
  • Damp wood - excess volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide and dust
  • Any solid fuel - oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and dust
Industry has spent billions in controlling pollution, reducing emissions to fractions of what they were from vehicles, appliances and industrial processes - yet significant amounts is caused by uncontrolled acts of the general public.

Danny
Energeer.co.uk

MacadamB53
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Re: Bonfires on Allotments Objected to by Adjacent Householder

Post by MacadamB53 » Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:54 am

Hi Danny,

significant amounts is caused by uncontrolled acts of the general public

is this your subjective opinion or based on research/analysis? and if it’s the latter, what does “significant” mean?

kind regards, Mac

Anthracite
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Re: Bonfires on Allotments Objected to by Adjacent Householder

Post by Anthracite » Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:22 pm

MacadamB53 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:54 am
is this your subjective opinion or based on research/analysis? and if it’s the latter, what does “significant” mean?
Hi Mac

You're right to call me on this, this is mostly my subjective opinion, (perhaps I can edit my post to make that clear).

By significant amounts, I mean on as localised impact level, rather than on a national output level. Clearly a cement works will output an order of magnitude more pollution over a year compared with a bonfire, but the concentration level is much better controlled and dispersed before it impacts a localised population.

Really interesting subject, but I'll try to avoid clogging up this thread with my thoughts!

Danny
Energeer.co.uk

Roblewis
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Re: Bonfires on Allotments Objected to by Adjacent Householder

Post by Roblewis » Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:13 pm

Anthracite
I know where you are going - For me incineration on open fires has little to recommend it. In other countries we find many community heating schemes where combustible waste is used as furnace fuel for the production of electricity and local heating. In the UK many LAs use whinrow sites to make and sell compost locally

ukmicky
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Re: Bonfires on Allotments Objected to by Adjacent Householder

Post by ukmicky » Mon Mar 18, 2019 11:05 pm

You will have local bylaws that govern bonfires and you also may have bylaws that are specific to allotment land ,check them.
Any information provided is not legal advice and you are advised to gain a professional opinion

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