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Walpole St Peter villagers frustrated by ‘pollution’ caused by fires – but West Norfolk Council insists they are not toxic

West Norfolk Council has extinguished fears that fires disrupting a village are toxic – but residents remain “up in arms” about the situation.

Walpole St Peter man Graham Cook told the Lynn News on Tuesday that a series of controlled burnings have been started on land between School Lane and Walnut Road.

He said this used to be agricultural land, but over the summer became covered by brambles – some of which grew to 20-feet tall – and “all sorts of wastes”.

A fire burning on Walpole St Peter land, much to the frustration of residents
A fire burning on Walpole St Peter land, much to the frustration of residents

Earlier this week, these were set on fire – leading to anger from villagers living nearby.

“The pollution was so much today – everything was covered in ash and smoke,” Mr Cook said.

“They lit them this morning at about 8.15am, and the smoke was horrendous, it really was.

“The whole village has been up in arms about it. It was just sheer frustration – we can’t get anywhere with Environmental Health.”

The borough council has jurisdiction for controlled burnings such as this.

However, the authority inspected the incidents and has found nothing to suggest the flames could harm anybody living nearby.

A spokesperson said: “We were made aware of a bonfire in this area yesterday (Tuesday) and an officer attended in the afternoon.

“A reasonably small bonfire was found but was not considered harmful or toxic as the materials being burnt were vegetation and there did not appear to be an impact on the wider community.

“Enquiries will be made to ensure that there is no illegal activity occurring but, at present, no additional action is considered necessary. Additionally, there does not appear to be any recent history of complaints in this area in respect of this type of activity.

“We recommend that anyone affected contact the borough council directly to report any smoke nuisance.”

The spokesperson added that for information, people can contact its Community Safety and Neighbourhood Nuisance (CSNN) team by emailing CSNN@west-norfolk.gov.uk or phoning 01553 616200 and asking for CSNN.

More details on incidents of this nature are available at https://www.west-norfolk.gov.uk/info/20129/nuisances/182/bonfire_and_smoke

However, Mr Cook remains unimpressed by the lack of action – and is concerned because there are still more piles of brambles to be burned.

He is unsure who is actually lighting the fires, but said they have “some sort of digger”. He says the next pile to be set alight lies just 40 feet from his home.

“You go outside and you just stink of smoke. It’s horrendous,” he added.

“They’ve just turned up this morning and set fire to it, with no regard for the fact that the wind was blowing directly towards the houses.”

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