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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Comprehensive action plan is in place to reduce Bonfire Night accidents

Enjoy yourself on Bonfire Night but please stay safe is the message from West Lancashire Borough Council and its partners.

West Lancashire Borough Council, the police and the fire service have an action plan to help residents celebrate 5 November safely without any problems of nuisance or dangerous behaviour.

The three partners have worked together over the last 12 years and have massively reduced the number of unauthorised bonfires.

Cleansing operations have been speeded up, so any flammable rubbish has been cleared away quickly. The partners are aiming to cut the number of problems even further, and are advising residents to take extra care of bins, boxes and bags, and secure them where possible so others can’t pull them out and start fires with the waste material. Bin collection days in Skelmersdale are Thursday and Friday, so residents should avoid presenting their bins before their collection day to stop them from being misused on bonfire night.

The partners are also keen to ensure that waste is not fly-tipped in the run up to bonfire night. Last year the Council issued two formal cautions in this regard. This year, officers will be looking out for anyone using bonfire night as an excuse to dump waste and will not hesitate to take appropriate action. The maximum fine for fly-tipping materials is £50,000.

Councillor Paul Greenall, West Lancashire Borough Council portfolio holder for Street Scene, said: “The Council wants to make sure this year’s bonfire night is just as safe and enjoyable as previous years. We work closely with partners to combat anti-social behaviour and to remove any bonfires that are not on authorised sites.”

In Skelmersdale, bonfires will only be allowed at eight specially designated sites owned by the Council. Bonfires can be built and lit between 4.30pm and midnight on Wednesday 5 November. Bonfires built in these areas before or after the accepted period will be disposed of.

The sites are:

  • Abbeystead (on the right hand side on the grassed area)
  • Alderley (on the left hand side on the grass by the subway to Pimbo)
  • Bankfield (left hand side on the grass)
  • Evington (left hand side by the play area)
  • Eskbank (grassed area at the entrance)
  • Hallcroft Field (grassed area by the play area)
  • The Winsters (grassed area on right hand side)
  • Railway Road (grassed area to the rear of Woodrow)

Chris Kenny, Lancashire’s Chief Fire Officer, said: “Bonfire Night is one of the busiest times of the year for the Fire and Rescue Service, but we are well prepared and have always enjoyed an extremely productive relationship with our partner agencies, including West Lancashire Borough Council and Lancashire Constabulary, enabling us to implement our fire safety and fire prevention strategies to best effect." 

West Lancashire Police Inspector Christina Shorrock added: “We will be working with other agencies to successfully tackle crime and anti-social behaviour on Bonfire Night and in the weeks leading up to it. We will deal robustly with anyone we find engaging in such behaviour.”

If residents have concerns about a bonfire they should contact the Council on 01695 577177 during office hours. Every effort will be made by Council staff to remove the bonfire if:

  • It is not on a designated site but is on council-owned land and
  • It has been built outside the agreed dates and times or could be dangerous         

If a bonfire has been lit outside the permitted times, is dangerous, or is on a site not designated for this purpose that is not Council land, please dial 999 and ask for the police and fire service. For advice call the fire stations at Ormskirk on 01695 572223 or Skelmersdale on 01695 723853.

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