The Environment Agency is asking people who are planning on having a bonfire to be careful about what is being burned and to keep it secure before burning.

The burning of most type of waste is illegal as it causes pollution which can harm your own health as well as your family, friends and neighbours and can carry a fine of up to £50,000.

Sam Pickard of the Environment Agency said:

"Bonfires are not to be used for a seasonal clear-out of your rubbish.

"It is not an excuse to get rid of difficult to dispose of rubbish by burning it yourself or asking others to do it for you.

We want to encourage people to make sure they dispose of their waste legally and safely at their recycling centre or through their doorstep collections.

If you are responsible for a bonfire, when you are doing your checks for wildlife also look to see if anyone has added rubbish to your bonfire.

'Significant dangers' of bonfires

Torridge District Councillor Philip Hackett, Lead Member for the Environment, Health, Wellbeing and Community Safety said:

"While bonfires may be a traditional part of the festivities around this time of year they can pose significant risks and impact on our climate.

"We recommend people attend an organised event instead of having their own bonfires but if they decide to light their own fires they should make safety a priority and not burn any hazardous materials.

"Recycling is a much more environmentally friendly way of disposing of unwanted wood and other materials."

PC Martin Beck, rural affairs officer with Devon & Cornwall Police, said:

We work closely with our partner agencies to keep our communities and environment safe and we need the public’s help, support and co-operation to do this.

"We want everyone to have a fun and safe bonfire night and fully support the message that the Environment Agency is sharing.