For many of us, our homes represent our safe place where we can wind down, especially over the last two years when the pandemic has seen us spend more time indoors. It is important for residents across the borough to consider their neighbours when getting rid of garden waste, lighting bonfires or playing music.
There are three main ways to get rid of garden waste: You can turn your waste into compost, recycle using one of the borough’s recycling centres or by utilising the council’s rubbish collection service. Some people prefer to burn their waste in a garden bonfire – but the council does not recommend this method to get rid of your waste.
Bonfire smoke inhalation can have a severe effect on those who suffer with respiratory conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) and pneumonia. It can also cause a disturbance for neighbours who may be drying laundry outside or enjoying some fresh air. If you choose to dispose of your waste this way, you should be aware that there are guidelines around bonfires which help to protect compromising the quality of the air and causing a nuisance to neighbours.
Before lighting a fire outdoors, you need to observe the following guidelines:
- Check weather conditions and wind direction so that smoke and ash will be carried away from neighbours’ windows and gardens, and make sure that there is no laundry hanging in adjoining gardens
- Burn material quickly in small quantities so that a minimum of smoke is created
- Only burn dry, natural and untreated materials – and do not burn oily rags, rubber and other man-made materials because they could prove toxic
- Do not leave your fire unattended or smouldering for long periods, and hose it down until the bonfire is cold before you leave it
- Advise neighbours before you light a bonfire
- Site your bonfire well away from trees, fences and windows, avoid windy days, and have a hosepipe or buckets of water ready nearby
- Rake ashes into the soil when cold, picking out larger pieces of charcoal first.
Ealing Council can take action against any persistent offenders where bonfires cause distress for surrounding neighbours. If taken to court, the offender could be fined £5,000. You can report bonfires here.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying listening to music and relaxing at home, but it is important to consider your neighbours. If you are planning to play loud music or have friends or family over, you should make sure that the volume levels are not intrusive or that you are not disturbing their sleep. If your neighbour consistently plays loud music at a volume that disrupts you during the day or at night, you can report it to the noise nuisance team.
Councillor Aysha Raza, the council’s cabinet member for tackling inequalities, said: “It is extremely important for our residents to be a good neighbour, especially when we’ve had to spend a lot of time at home because of the coronavirus. Please continue to be look after one another and check-in with your neighbour to make sure that the music is at a suitable level.”
Councillor Jasbir Anand, the council’s cabinet member for thriving communities said: “Please be mindful of your neighbours if you are doing things that may disrupt them. Some of our neighbours live with health conditions or have young children, so it’s particularly important to consider these things before proceeding with a bonfire, playing loud music or disposing of waste.”