A COUNCILLOR has spoken out on the issue of back garden bonfires being lit in a county village during lockdown.

Malvern Hills district councillor Martin Allen said: “The issue of bonfires in Kempsey has been dripping on and off for some time.

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“I have offered, with one resident who complained to me, that I would speak to the person concerned, but was told not to.

“People are worried about reprisals if they complain but for anything to be done, just one bonfire on its own would not be deemed a ‘nuisance’ and a log needs to be kept so Worcestershire Regulatory Services can investigate.

“The issue is a serious one and I would prefer the Government to look at it closer as it can cause issues with people breathing in smoke and it is unpleasant.”

Residents on a Facebook group have said some of their neighbours who light up are “inconsiderate and selfish”, and have “no consideration for others in the community”.

County councillor David Harrison said: “The rules are clear on the Government’s website, which state that it isn’t illegal to have a bonfire, but if the smoke drifts over a road, it could cause a danger to moving traffic.

“An ‘abatement notice’ can be issued but residents must keep an accurate log of any incidents to provide evidence.

“A fine of £5,000 can be issued if people don’t follow the rules.

“Where I live in the north east of Kempsey, I’ve had no issues but driving around the village, I’ve certainly noticed bonfires burning away with smoke being released into the air.”

At the beginning of the lockdown period, the fire service appealed to residents to avoid having bonfires, as group commander, Mick Cadman of the Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service community risk department, said: “lots of the false alarms we attend are caused by bonfires”, which “can get out of control very easily”.