FOI Disclosure Log

Customer Request Details

19 August 2021

Please could you provide answers to the following questions for me:

  1. Does you authority provide allotments?
  2. If you do provide allotments:
    1. Do you currently allow tenants to have bonfires on their plots?
    2. If you don"t allow bonfires on plots, is that a recent decision (since January 2020) and was climate change a stated factor in the decision being made?
    3. If you do allow bonfires on plots, are you considering a change of policy within the next 18 months based on the damage to the environment that they cause?


East Herts Council Response

10 September 2021

Thank you for your request for information, this has now been processed and the information that we hold is enclosed.

  1. Does you authority provide allotments? Yes
  2. If you do provide allotments:
    1. Do you currently allow tenants to have bonfires on their plots?

Yes the rules can be found here https://www.eastherts.gov.uk/sports-leisure-and-parks/allotments-east-herts

    1. If you don"t allow bonfires on plots, is that a recent decision (since January 2020) and was climate change a stated factor in the decision being made? N/A

 

    1. If you do allow bonfires on plots, are you considering a change of policy within the next 18 months based on the damage to the environment that they cause?

While we do allow for bonfires the rules include the following:

(2) He shall not cause any nuisance or annoyance to the occupier of any other allotment garden, or obstruct any path set out by the Council for the use of the occupiers of the allotment gardens.

We would expect tenants to ensure bonfires are not allowed to become a nuisance.  We are not considering making any change to the rules in this respect.

The National Allotment Society provide some leaflets on various subjects including bonfires. If asked by a tenant we would advise that they follow such guidance:

https://www.nsalg.org.uk/allotment-info/leaflets-2/

Bonfires

Bonfires can be a real nuisance so many landlords are now banning them from allotment sites. Always check your tenancy agreement before setting alight to anything, and be aware of the local by-laws that cover public nuisances (including smoke). Call your council’s environment office for guidance when planning the safe and appropriate disposal of any rubbish. If you do have permission to hold a bonfire and your fellow plot holders and immediate neighbours do not mind, we recommend the following procedure:

  • Always observe the simple courtesy of letting your neighbours know when you intend to light the fire
  • Always check the stack intended for burning to look for hibernating hedgehogs and other animals that may be in it. Start the bonfire at a safe distance away from the stack.
  • Smoke hangs in the air on damp days and in the evening; so try and avoid lighting a fire under such conditions.
  • Avoid burning on windy days as the prevailing wind direction may blow smoke or sparks directly into neighbouring properties.
  • Only burn dry material and NEVER burn household rubbish or anything containing plastic, foam or paint. Do not take rubbish to the site to burn.
  • Never under any circumstances use an accelerator (e.g. petrol) to get the bonfire started.
  • Never leave the bonfire unattended always wait until everything has burned down before leaving the site. Never use water to douse a bonfire; it may appear as if the fire has been safely put out but the water only serves to superheat the ashes and they could re-ignite some hours later. When you have to leave the bonfire site always throw soil or sand over it to smother the heat source.

The Council also has its own separate guidance on bonfires which all residents including allotment holders should consider 

https://www.eastherts.gov.uk/environmental-health/bonfires

If you have any queries or complaint about the processing of your request please do not hesitate to contact me.

For re-use of information and conditions on the use of personal data  please see

https://www.eastherts.gov.uk/about-east-herts-0/information-requests/re-use-council-information

Alternatively for more information on the Freedom of Information Act contact the Information Commissioner at:

Information Commissioners Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Telephone 0303 123 1113

https://ico.org.uk/

 

It is important that you include the above FOI reference number on all correspondence related to this request.

 

Thank you for your request.