The Council, in partnership with Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue, is urging residents in East Dunbartonshire not to fly-tip or burn grass and tree cuttings whilst garden waste collections in the area are suspended as a result of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
On Wednesday 18 March the Council announced that all Council services were moving to emergency service delivery only, in line with guidance and to protect the workforce, and residents have been asked, where possible, to start a compost heap for garden waste whilst collections are interrupted.
Unfortunately, there have been increasing reports of garden waste fly-tipping and garden bonfires since the suspension. As the weather has been so dry, fly-tipping and bonfires are increasingly hazardous and divert fire crews and police officers attending other emergencies in the area.
Furthermore smoke from garden bonfires can have serious health implications for neighbouring residents suffering from asthma or respiratory conditions and contribute to local air pollution levels.
East Dunbartonshire Council’s Depute Chief Executive, Place, Neighbourhood & Corporate Assets, Thomas Glen, said, “These are challenging times and the Council is balancing the maintenance of essential waste services with the need to protect our employees and meet government and NHS guidelines on physical distancing. We are urging residents to work with us, composting garden waste if possible and refraining from starting garden bonfires or fly-tipping waste. Please consider the health and wellbeing of your neighbours and the strain on emergency services during this unprecedented situation.”
Chief Inspector Lorna Gibson, Area Commander East Dunbartonshire, said “The burning of garden waste is not only anti-social but can have very dangerous consequences. Once lit, fire can be very unpredictable and can spread quickly, particularly during this dry weather. If the garden waste is positioned close to fences or buildings they could easily catch fire, potentially causing damage to property or injury to persons. If damage is caused to another person’s property or causes injury and the fire has been deliberately lit you may be charged. I urge anyone thinking about burning garden waste to consider the consequences carefully before doing so.”
Local Senior Officer Andy Watt, said, “The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service would recommend you avoid lighting a bonfire to dispose of garden waste or other items. With bin uplift services in many areas limited during the Coronavirus you may be considering burning refuse. This can often be very unsafe in terms of the risk of fire spread, inconvenience to neighbours, damage to the environment and could unnecessarily draw upon and divert SFRS resources from lifesaving work.
“Some simple measures can help protect you, your family, your property and those around you from the potentially devastating consequences of a fire at this time.
“SFRS is issuing safety advice across the country as more and more people adhere to the UK-wide guidance to stay at home, please visit SFRS - Reduction in Refuse Collections for advice.”