Fireworks displays told to go green

Families and organisers of fireworks displays are being urged to make their November 5 celebrations as green as possible.

Environmental Protection UK (formerly NSCA) is reminding residents that bonfire smoke produces toxic emissions, while fireworks cause noise and air pollution.

An estimated 5% to 14% of the UK’s dioxin emissions are produced around November 5 – most of which is believed to come from bonfires.

Earlier this month, Slough Borough Council announced it would be axing the bonfire from its annual fireworks display, to be held on November 3 this year, to reduce the event’s carbon footprint.

Environmental Protection UK is encouraging people to seek alternatives to bonfires such as recycling and composting to dispose of rubbish.

However, those who still want to have a bonfire on November 5 are being advised to burn only dry material, and never throw household rubbish, rubber tyres or anything containing plastic, foam or paint onto the bonfire to avoid releasing harmful toxins.

Ed Dearnley, the charity’s air quality specialist, said: “Burn only clean, dry, untreated wood or garden waste to minimise pollution.

“Don’t use November 5 as an excuse to torch the old sofa.”

Fireworks also produce a cocktail of emissions including sulphur compounds, particulates, metal oxides and dioxins.

Environmental Protection UK has advised that lighting fireworks should be avoided in still and misty weather to reduce the amount of pollution.

To avoid causing noise pollution, the charity is advising people planning celebrations to warn their neighbours in advance and choose an appropriate time of night to release fireworks.

Mary Stevens, noise specialist at Environmental Protection UK, said: “If you are planning a firework party, tell your neighbours, particularly if they have children or pets.”

For more advice, visit

Kate Martin

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie