A council is urging people not to light bonfires during the coronavirus lockdown.

Hertsmere Borough Council says its envrionmental health team has received an increased number of complaints about bonfires since the lockdown was announced at the end of March.

The council says bonfires could "exacerbate" coronavirus symptoms in people who have contracted the virus during a time of an "unprecedented public health emergency"

Council officers are concerned that with warm weather approaching, more householders will be "tempted" to light more bonfires.

Councillor Seamus Quilty said: “It is important to be especially considerate at this time, when people are confined to their homes and unable to escape unpleasant fumes.

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“Bonfires can also become out of control or cause accidents, creating extra pressure on the already busy emergency services."

He said that people should use the brown mixed recycling and green waste bins to full capacity and if they are unable to fit all recycling into their bin that it is stored until the next collection or the household recycling centres reopen again.

Cllr Quilty added: “We must all help each other as much as possible by not lighting bonfires, to help protect the NHS and save lives.”

Allotment holders are also being asked to dispose of green waste from their plot by composting as much as possible and avoid bonfires.

The council also said that homeowners with open fires and wood burning stoves should follow the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs practical guide to minimise the environmental and health impact.

It said that people bothered by smoke from a bonfire should consider speaking to the person responsible for the bonfire first, from a safe social distance.

Alternatively bonfires can be reported to the council’s Environmental Health team using the online form, by emailing environmental.health@hertsmere.gov.uk or by calling 0208 2077435.