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There has been a rise in the number of call outs to waste fires in Grimsby.

East Marsh residents have been affected by plumes of smoke as mountains of waste are being burnt in back yards and alleyways.

Humberside Fire and Rescue Service is calling on households to think of their neighbours and avoid burning waste.

It follows an influx of concerns raised in Grimsby and across the country of problems caused by bonfire smoke for people with breathing difficulties and those suffering with coronavirus.

Aside from the obvious risk of fire spread to other areas of the garden, bonfire smoke can have a harmful effect on people with health problems such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis. It also causes significant problems for people suffering with coronavirus symptoms.

This has been a problem for 12 months since the first lockdown in March 2020. Unlike a year ago however, NE Lincs household recycling centres are open and residents should dispose of their larger household items responsibly.

It is not an offence to light a garden bonfire, but regulations only allow garden or 'green' waste to be burnt. It is however an offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to cause a statutory smoke nuisance and there are clearly significant fire risks as explained by Chief Fire Officer Chris Blacksell:

‘Bonfires can quickly burn out of control, especially in high wind, and can set light to sheds, fences, trees or even the home itself. During these unprecedented times, please consider your neighbours and avoid bonfires if at all possible.

"Call outs to bonfires, whether attended or otherwise, are often an unnecessary strain on our service. I am sure the public would want our crews ready and able to respond to a life threatening emergency call rather than be tied up at someone burning household or garden waste.’

The burning of anything other than dry garden waste is prohibited in law. You could also be fined if you light a fire and allow the smoke to drift across the road and become a danger to traffic. For full guidelines see the website

A statutory nuisance happens when smoke causes unreasonable interference with a person’s use or enjoyment of their property. Smoke nuisance can occur at any time of the day or night.

Please use the Council’s online form at to report bonfires that are causing a statutory nuisance.

Cllr Ron Shepherd, North East Lincs Council portfolio holder for Safer and Stronger Communities said last year:

“We can take enforcement action against those who light bonfires regularly and cause a nuisance to their neighbours.”