Darker Nights – Newcastle City Council

With the clocks going back and the nights drawing in Newcastle City Council has announced preparations  to ensure Newcastle’s communities are a safe place to be over the winter months.

The Darker Nights campaign will see the City Council and Your Homes Newcastle (YHN), the organisation responsible for managing its council homes, working together with other partners including Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, Northumbria Police, the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) and Trading Standards to help minimise the risks caused by illegal bonfires, fireworks and anti-social behaviour.

The Darker Nights campaign will be active in the communities of Newcastle throughout the autumn, winter and spring seasons.

Northumbria Police are launching their own proactive operation to address the different crimes that come with the darker months.

In the build-up to Bonfire Night, staff from both YHN and Newcastle City Council are surveying the fly-tipping hot-spots and removing any combustible waste with the council’s enforcement team prosecuting anyone found fly-tipping in the city.

The teams will be clearing away piles of waste that could be used for illegal bonfires and advising residents of how best to dispose of bulky materials that are building up in and round their homes.

Items like sofas and mattresses when set alight can emit poisonous fumes that may be harmful if inhaled.

Over the past two years similar community clean-up programmes have removed 43 tonnes (in 2016) and 70 tonnes (in 2015) of combustible waste from the streets of Newcastle in three days of intensive enforcement campaign.

Cllr Nick Kemp, Cabinet Member responsible for Neighbourhoods and Regulatory Services and also Chair of Safe Newcastle, said: “The aim of the Darker Nights campaign is to help protect the residents and businesses of Newcastle from anti-social behaviour that could cause people distress or even lead to loss of life. We are helping to raise awareness about the dangers of people creating and igniting illegal bonfires from discarded household materials. The campaign also looks at firework safety that will keep people safe from harm.

“The messages aren’t solely attached to Bonfire Night, as we want residents to be careful and vigilant throughout the darker night season during autumn, winter and spring. We are working with our partners to help create a safer Newcastle.”

The issue of illegal bonfires and anti-social behaviour seem to walk hand-in-hand, and, as part of the Darker Nights campaign, an education programme has been set up to try and help educate repeat offenders in association with Newcastle Youth Offending Team (YOTs).

YHN, Newcastle City Council and their partners would advise residents to always use licensed waste collection companies and attend professionally organised bonfires and firework displays.

The City Council would remind businesses and residents that Bonfire night is not an opportunity to get rid of rubbish and people can be prosecuted for doing so – the fine is unlimited and the maximum penalty is 5 years jail.

The above news release was issued by Newcastle City Council and included on the Newcastle City Council website. It has been included here for information and does not necessarily represent the views of High West Jesmond Residents’ Association.