OUR FOURTEEN YEAR CAMPAIGN TO CONTROL
ALL OVER THE U.K.!
Join our campaign for CleanFreshAir without pollutants
BONFIRE SMOKE, TRAFFIC FUMES AND INDUSTRIAL SMELLS
Contact us: bonfires
at horstedkeynes dot com
Unfortunately due to a lack of contributions we have had to scale back our campaign.
We are very sorry if we are unable to reply to your letters as speedily as
Mention the village of
Horsted Keynes in Sussex and air pollution is not the first thing to
come to mind. For some reason however we seem to have a number of
miscreants who light wet bonfires and then rush inside behind their
double glazed windows.
Your webmaster suffers from an illness that can make breating difficult - this is why I live in
a rural area and have done so for nearly 50 years. I live here where
there are fewer traffic fumes, but it seems that recently some people have
started to think that they can do whatever they like whenever they like
and can completely ignore upsetting other villagers. In fact I feel
that some people don't even think of anyone but themselves any more!
Smoke can drift a long way when there is little wind and a fire lit at
the top of a hill can spread a long way. I
hope this helps explain why I have written this page on the village
now more than a dozen letters from other local people who agree with the
sentiments on this
page. Surely in this increasingly selfish and inconsiderate society it's time for
something positive to be done to make our air breathable all day, every
Thought for the week
(inspired by actual events)
It's a lovely evening, not a breath of wind. I know, let's have a bonfire! We
can light it, make sure that the smoke hangs nicely in the air, and then go into
our double glazed house.
Oh, the children down the road who have asthma? They can play indoors for the
evening and sleep in sweltering bedrooms because they dare not open their
windows, can't they? Damn that ambulance waking me up at 2a.m. taking that old
man with emphysema to hospital. Couldn't he just go and live somewhere else
instead of disturbing my sleep?
It was a beautiful Sunday
afternoon in Horsted Keynes, the sun was warm and the air clear.
Children played in the sunshine and mothers took the opportunity to dry
Then at 1:30 in the
afternoon a resident of Boxes Lane decided to light a bonfire! There was
no rain forecast, no foreseeable urgency, but they still decided the time was ideal to fill
the air with debris and smoke residents back indoors. Is it possible that
people are so selfish or is this how England is changing, to a country
where if something is not strictly illegal people just do as they like?
Mentions of village
neighbourliness and British wartime spirit just fall on deaf ears as this sort
of person does not understand history and obviously cares not a tot for
What these self same
residents forget is that every time they perform an anti-social act it
is recorded by all the neighbours affected and has by law to be declared when they come to
sell and move on. This in turn may well affect the value of their own property - perhaps the smokers don't understand, perhaps they are rich lottery
winners, perhaps they just don't care.
17 April 2011
The first warm weekend ruined by selfish bonfire lighters
Until now this website has been restrained and
polite. People these days tend to not understand restrained or polite
messages of any sort, so it is perhaps time we started to talk more
loudly. Even perhaps when all else fails SHOUTING is necessary!
Quite simply in our part of the village the first
of 2011 was ruined by someone in a nearby road not only lighting a bonfire on Sunday
lunchtime, not only attempting to burn something that was
wet and poorly stacked (probably just a pile of cut grass clippings on
top of some old newspaper), but because it was not properly lit the
whole thing was left to smoulder all night long! This meant that not
only did we have to come inside on a pleasant day, we were unable to
open our doors or windows all evening as the smoke and smell invaded our
home. Our clothes stank and smelled and had to be laundered.
We feel certain that the fumes (for that is what
they were) may well have been harmful too. Yet what do we - and every
other resident in the village - do when this happens? Nothing! Fearful that we might upset
others by complaining!
I'm sorry, but this problem has got to be sorted out and
we are now stridently campaigning for a change in the law - either local
Something must be done to stop people lighting
bonfires in daytime or when there is no wind. To ensure that when lit
they are made of combustible materials and that they are never left
unattended. This will at a shot stop people leaving their fires to
smoulder overnight which must be made an offence with a substantial fine
for miscreants. Naming and shaming might also work.
Surely in this day and age the EEC, who let's face
it don't do that much for us, should at least ensure that we are all
able to breathe in clean air?
I think that some people retire and move into what they see
as "the country" and believe that they are then able to ignore the rules
of polite society. Have parties and let off fireworks late at night and
generally do as they want. That has never been how England works, and
the attitude seems a fairly recent development. Perhaps it is time to go
back to earlier times?
So why not ask your local councillor what is their
view about bonfires before the local elections?
I will be doing precisely that, and reporting
their replies on this page.
bonfireblues at horstedkeynes dot com
LATE SUMMER WARMTH = MORE BONFIRES
We have been contacted by three residents this week
asking if there is anything that the Parish Council can do about the people
who light up bonfires without a moments thought for their neighbours.
The last Saturday in September was absolutely glorious with no wind and
an afternoon temperature of 20 degrees. Many villagers tried to make up for
our appalling summer by sitting out even eating outside yet at both ends of
the village smoke hung in the still air. Yes we do appreciate that one
resident waited until after 6 p.m. to light up but given the totally still
(indeed foggy) conditions, this must still be regarded as being a nuisance.
After all with no wind where could the smoke go?
certainly think that this country has enough rules and regulations but it
does seem that common sense consideration for others has gone out of the
window so perhaps it is time for (yet another) new law.
Along with this will of course come a man in van wearing a yellow
waterproof jacket over his stab vest. On his back will be a blue sign saying
not "Police", "Community Support Officer" or even "Civil Enforcement
Officer" (all of which have been seen in Haywards Heath recently) but
perhaps "Air Pollution Control Officer"?
Yes because of a few inconsiderate people it may HAVE
to happen, even here in glorious Sussex!
"There are two sorts of people,
those who light bonfires when there is no wind to blow the smoke away - they
are ignorant bastards, and those who suffer from the smoke."
As an asthma sufferer I can only applaud your stand
against inconsiderate bonfires. In the last year I have spent three periods
in hospital, at least one of these caused by bonfire smoke.
I believe the worst offenders are those who are too
crafty to light their bonfires during the evening. If they did this then at
least we could close our windows at night. It's when you wake up in the
middle of the night with an asthma attack caused by the smoke from a bonfire
lit after the pubs turn out. Burning garden rubbish is bad enough, but when
they put plastic and household rubbish on as well then it's just asking for
There are two sorts of people, those who light bonfires
when there is no wind to blow the smoke away - they are ignorant bastards,
and those who suffer from the smoke. If only one could make the other
understand then perhaps a change in the law wouldn't be needed, but I think
that it is.
Keep up the good work, I have sent a small donation.
(signed) Mary McCloud.
Thank you for highlighting the menace of the very
few residents who insist on lighting up their stinking smokey bonfires
without a thought for their neighbours, often the same people who like to
hold dinner parties in their gardens in the evening. I wonder if
these people realise that they are probably costing themselves a lot of
Let's suppose that they want to sell their property - the
same property that they have spent lots of cash renovating. Would you buy a
house in a zone where you can't use your garden if your neighbour has just
cut their grass and lit another stinking bonfire? No we wouldn't either, but
even if they would the value must be lower and this is affecting us all.
I wonder how much each bonfire costs us in lost property
values? Probably rather more than a trip to the Burgess Hill dump! Horsted
Keynes is becoming the bonfire capital of Sussex!
Signed, but withheld by request.
(Webmasters note, the Forest Row dump is closer,
and the Parish Council still have a FREE tanker visit a couple of times each year.)
Three days is two too many!
We local residents who have breathing difficulties do
appreciate it when our neighbours wait until a turn in the weather to
light up, for the last couple of weeks we have been in a drought with a
hosepipe ban imposed, and when we heard the lawnmowers we knew that it
wouldn't be long before the smoke started. What, wait for the clippings to
dry up before setting fire to them, that would be too considerate.
The only problem was they decided to light their bonfire
(of green grass cuttings remember) in a shower. The shower turned into
rain, and the rain into a tempest, but still every time there was a pause
in the wet they relit their smouldering pile (with plastic covered
cardboard from the smell). Last night the air was filled with debris and
bits of paper ash which hang in the air like snow.
It's now Thursday afternoon and the sun has come out, my
wife tried to dry some washing but an hour later the smoke and dreadful
smell returned! The children are at home for 6 weeks and with the return
of sunshine might have liked to get away from the TV, only they would have
to breathe carcinogenic smoke, the neighbours certainly don't care about
that sort of thing!
If they can legislate for an Olympic games then surely
inconsiderate bonfires shouldn't be impossible to control. Please, please,
let's get this bonfire menace sorted.
Another disgusted resident
At last we have some good weather-a
chance to sit outdoors and enjoy a drink and a meal; maybe hang some
washing on the line or just enjoy the fresh air. BUT NO!! Here we are
again with the selfish, inconsiderate villagers who think they can light
up, pollute the air and let it all blow away.
This evening the air over Hamsland was
full of large black lumps emanating from a big burn up over the way,
gently floating down over my table and chairs and forcing an early
departure indoors. Only a few days ago I had to suffer a day long
smoulder and garden full of smoke from another source, forcing me to use
a clothes dryer on a lovely warm day!! To say I am incensed is an
understatement, but how do we stop them? Naming and shaming on the
website will probably have limited effect as not all residents have
access to the internet. I will be writing to the Parish Council and Mid
Sussex Council about bonfires because I think it is really time
legislation was introduced to stop them. Why should the bad,
inconsiderate behaviour of some residents cause so much misery and
inconvenience to so many others. I felt physically sick the other day
when the window was open, as the foul smell and smoke was drifting
It is all very well saying you have to
expect this in the country but NO! There is no reason on earth why we
should have to endure this perennial problem, especially over a 12 hour
period or more. It is time to act and I am determined to start the ball
rolling to improve the environment of our village once and for all.
Watch this space!
A disgusted resident
There IS a way to do it properly.
So how DO you get rid of garden rubbish? Simply burn it,
but try doing it this way!
First choose a day when there is a wind to blow all the
smoke away but there isn't a gale blowing (we'd have thought that every
villager could understand that one!). Second, make sure that the bonfire
is dry and that it is hot enough. Third ONLY burn refuse that is safe. Do
NOT burn plastic or coated cardboard. Do NOT burn furniture or chipboard.
These produce carcinogenic chemicals and YOU are likely to be nearest to
the conflagration! (Unless you are a villager who lights up and then hides
indoors with your double glazing closed, In that case we don't think
you'll be reading this anyway, and you deserve all that you get!).
Start by building a fire of wood, get it roaring hot.
Then, and only then add your rubbish. This will have the effect of heating
up the rubbish so that it burns completely and makes the smoke rise high
up into the air. Keep adding rubbish as the fire burns through.
Never put a newspaper under a pile of wet leaves and
leave it smoulder. This should be illegal in our opinion! Do it this way
and you will dispose of the rubbish cleanly and safely as well as keeping
your neighbours happy!
WE ARE NOT SURE IF WE SHOULD RECOMMEND THIS BUT WE HAVE
BEEN ASSURED THAT AS A LAST MEASURE IF YOU THINK THAT YOUR NEIGHBOUR'S
FIRE IS DANGEROUS OR IS UNATTENDED YOU ARE AT LIBERTY TO
CALL OUT THE FIRE BRIGADE. THIS IS NOT AN ABUSE IF YOU HAVE GOOD REASON AND IS EVEN SUGGESTED. CHECK THE WEST SUSSEX FIRE BRIGADE WEB SITE!
A FIRE ENGINE AT THE DOOR WILL CERTAINLY MAKE E'M THINK NEXT TIME!
Black smoke drifts past the HorstedKeynes.Com web camera on a warm April evening.
I was interested to see
you have headlined this topic on the village website. I was incensed to
read in the Parish Magazine that the mobile rubbish collections are being
withdrawn. Having been a regular 'contributor' on these visits, I have
noticed how well the service is used, with 2 vans usually being provided
and rapidly filled up! I fully endorse your views and feel that this will
not only lead to an increase in bonfires and 'fly' tipping, but will lead
to an increased number of short car journeys for people trying to dispose
of their rubbish at the amenity sites.
What I find difficult to
understand is that in the Council Tax for 2004-5, the budget for Refuse
Collection and Recycling has been increased almost 15% for the current
year. Yet we in Horsted Keynes are having one of our most useful services
withdrawn!! Our roads are constantly in need of repair and for people
without children, one has to ask the question, what do I actually get for
paying my Council Tax?
I intend to write to Mid
Sussex District Council to express my views on this subject and hope that
more support will be forthcoming from HK residents.
If you are reading this later in the year then this is the week of the
highest temperatures this year, and perhaps (at the time of writing) the highest
hereabouts for many millennia! Perhaps then you can understand the ire of the
four residents who have written to us in the last week complaining about their
neighbours lighting bonfires during this heat wave. Unfortunately of the four
emails received only one has agreed (so far) to have their letter published. It
is self explanatory.
Today will be the hottest day of
the year so far. For the last two hours my house and garden, and no doubt those
of my neighbours in Church Lane/ Leighton Road, have been engulfed in the acrid
smoke coming from a neighbour's bonfire. We cannot open any windows. We cannot
sit outside. I have a 12 month old baby.
Surely something can be done to
shame these people into behaving with consideration for others?
Perhaps now is the time to raise the matter with your Parish
You can find them listed here, we leave it up to you.
Any further views from either side are welcome and will be published here if
permission is granted.
Please email to
webmaster-at-horstedkeynes.com . (Change -at- to an @ symbol)
July / August
While this exceptionally hot spell of weather continues may we urge ALL
residents to NOT light up their bonfires. Whilst many villagers have heeded our
request some others seem to think that it is all right to light their monster in
the evening. As those of us who sleep with our windows open will tell you the
breeze often drops to nothing at night, so the smoke just hangs in the air until
dawn. Villagers who have breathing problems often find the night time far worse
than the day and this is the time of the highest number of hospital admissions
for breathing problems. Please think of others.
By the way did you know that you can now be fined up to £5000 for burning
plastic on your bonfire? It has always been an offence to pollute the air but
councils now have the power to prosecute people who burn anything other than
"combustible garden and household waste" OR whose fires emit "dark smoke". Some
cardboard boxes have a plastic coating which lets off cyanide when burnt! Even
if you aren't worried about your neighbours health, your plants won't appreciate
a dose of poison.
You are entitled to call out the fire brigade if you feel that a bonfire is
dangerous. Thank you from all of us who need to breathe clean air
There have been no updates to this page since last year when we managed to
get the subject of inconsiderate bonfire smoke mentioned in the Mid Sussex Times
as well as on Meridian TV. Unfortunately with the return of warm weather we
again find our enjoyment of outside marred by a few ignorant or just plain
selfish villagers who think nothing of lighting up their bonfires with a gallon
of petrol and some plastic bags!
Once again we ask you to remember those of us who have problems with their
breathing and for whom the smell of bonfire smoke means us having to run indoors
with the windows tight shut followed by a trip to the bathroom cabinet to find
their inhaler. The ironic thing is we have been told that some people retired
here as they thought that the air would be fresher than in town!
Yes we do appreciate that you have to get rid of your rubbish but what we do
ask is that you wait until there is a wind to blow the smoke away before
starting a bonfire. If you just can't wait until then at least wait until the
late evening before lighting up, however many of us enjoy sleeping with their
bedroom windows open, and to be honest why should you force us to close them?
If you would like to comment on this page (either way, for or against) then
please send an email to the webmasters who will be pleased to include your mail.
We are quite happy to respect confidentiality. Our address is
webmaster-at-horstedkeynes.com; to save spam we always show email addresses like
this, just replace -at- with the @ symbol.
|Many thanks for the feedback on this subject which also appeared
(albeit with several mistakes) in "The Mid Sussex Times" on Thursday 25th, July
and on Meridian TV on July 29th. We hope that villagers will now at least think
before putting "match to paper". If that is the case then we will have succeeded
in our efforts. However if the nuisance continues then the publicity might start
to affect property prices in the area. That would be a pity for some, but just
might remind others that they are hitting themselves in the pocket when they
light up in the middle of a sunny day.
You may have read the piece in the local paper (repeated
below) which was inspired by an actual event in the village last weekend.
Naturally we all need to get rid of our garden waste, but why oh why do some
villagers have to light bonfires of damp material on warm Summer evenings?
Perhaps they are afraid of insects invading their garden, perhaps they just
don't like to see a mess, either way there are in our village a few people who
just don't give a fig for anyone else. They have paid handsomely for their home
and now they live in the country they feel that they can do what they like,
can't they? (Residents who have lived here all their lives seem far less
likely to offend in this way.)
Well, yes they
can burn their rubbish, there are no bylaws (unfortunately) to stop us lighting
up anytime at all (unless the smoke goes over a road when the Road Traffic Acts
come into play). The local council help us by paying for the dustcart to visit
the car park several times a year but that is not enough.
We know of one case where a bonfire was lit on a
Saturday afternoon when a near neighbour was getting married! Nobody complained,
they were too busy running round slamming windows and trying to stop the bride's
dress smelling like an old chimney when she walked down the aisle. All the
beribboned cars were covered in ash and the afternoon would have been ruined if
someone (nobody is saying who!) called in the fire brigade! The men from
Haywards Heath arrived with sirens blaring and should have been extremely
annoyed. However, they looked at the circumstances judged that the fire was "out
of control" - the neighbour having lit his fire had retired to the Green
Man - so they set to with their hoses. His garden was awash for days and
our boozing fire raiser got the message. He has never reoffended and now warns
his neighbours before lighting a fire - all without a word being mentioned of
the incident - until today!
This is obviously not the answer for most people but
may we as a concerned residents ask that you please consider your neighbours -
particularly if there are babies, young children or older people close by - and
only "light up" when the wind is set fair to blow the stuff away, preferably
wait until Autumn. As a final thought, do not, repeat not, burn
any plastic on your bonfire. The fumes even in tiny quantities are carcinogenic,
that is proven fact.
You will be
old one day, let's hope when you are your neighbours are considerate and you
don't have breathing difficulties to add to your woes. Thank you.
If you would care to comment on the
above please do get in touch by email