Bonfire tyre fumes keep kids indoors

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A Derry father says he was forced to keep his children indoors over the weekend because of toxic tyre soot from an Eleventh Night bonfire.

The Ivy Mead resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, says his garden was completely out of bounds because of the soot - caused by the bonfire in neighbouring Tullyally - that lined his garden, car and outer walls of his home.

“Despite it being our youngest child’s birthday, we couldn’t let them outdoors for long periods of time because of the soot and fumes,” he says.

“Two days on and the fire is still smouldering. The soot and the smell is covering the whole of Ivy Mead. “

Burning tyres on bonfires is illegal in the north because of the harm to human health and to the environment.

Tyres release a thick toxic smoke filled with pollutants when set alight.

The resident says there was no problem in July when a bonfire was also burned in the area.

“But that was simply because there was no tyres on the fire in July. We’ve even been told that a caravan may have been burnt on the fire over the weekend,” he says.

“We contacted the council’s Environmental health but couldn’t get anyone over the weekend - it’s obviously a danger to people’s health, it’s poisonous.”

A spokeswoman for Derry City Council confirmed they had been contacted regarding resident’s concerns.

“The Council representative liaised with a community representative in the area to determine the source of the tyres,” she says.

“Whilst the burning of tyres on bonfires is illegal, Derry City Council work with various community and neighbourhood groups in proactively consulting on options to move away from bonfires as a tradition. If the agreement is to pursue with community bonfires is reached, it is the Council policy to give advice on reduction of risk to public safety and minimizing the detrimental damage to the environment.”