Coronavirus: Bonfire ban to protect those self-isolating

By Angie Brown
BBC Scotland News

  • Published
Garden waste burningImage source, Getty Images

Bonfires have been banned across Edinburgh during the Coronavirus lockdown in a bid to keep the air clear for people who are self isolating.

The move by City of Edinburgh Council comes after it suspended its garden waste collection.

People have been told to compost rather than burn their vegetation during the lockdown period.

People who are self isolating rely on fresh air from open windows as they are unable to leave their homes.

Officials said people must help them by not creating any pollution that could make their condition worse.

The move has been backed by the British Lung Foundation Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

Lung conditions

Joseph Carter, head of British Lung Foundation Scotland, urged people to be "mindful of others" during the lockdown.

He said: "It's really concerning to see reports of garden waste burning on the rise in recent weeks.

"About one in five people in Scotland have a pre-existing lung condition and they are particularly vulnerable at the moment.

"It's really important that during this time of social isolation we all take the necessary steps needed to keep both ourselves and others safe.

"I urge everyone to be mindful of the health of others."

Resume collections

Adam McVey, the City of Edinburgh Council leader, said: "Be assured that as soon as we can we will resume garden collections and reopen the community recycling centres.

"But for now, and we don't yet know how long for.

"We are appealing to anyone carrying out gardening not to get rid of it by burning bonfires, as the smoke can pose a risk to people's health, particularly the vulnerable and those with respiratory problems."

Kenny Rogers, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service senior officer for Edinburgh, said: "I would urge everyone to stay safe and to do their bit to protect themselves and others by disposing of garden refuse carefully and responsibly."

Stuart McKenzie, president of the Federation of Edinburgh and District Allotments and Gardens Association said he had already told his 1,724 plot holders to refrain from burning garden waste during the lockdown to help people recovering from Coronavirus.

He told BBC Scotland: "Build a compost heap instead and put all those nutrients back into the soil."