Local authorities in Bromley are working together in a bid to tackle nuisance bonfires, amid reports of night-time burn-offs being repeatedly lit in the borough.

Bromley Council and the London Fire Brigade confirmed they were acting on reports of fires being lit in the borough, after residents complained about the wide-ranging impact of bonfires thought to be near St Mary Cray.

Bromley Councillor Kate Lymer, the executive member for public protection and enforcement, confirmed the authority had received reports about nuisance bonfires in the area and confirmed the council was meeting with the London Fire Brigade to discuss the incident and subsequent action.

“Whilst the facts are being established, we should not confuse a small back garden bonfire with this incident, where there have been known to arson related fires in the past, which local people will be aware of and which we have successfully tackled in recent years,” Cllr Lymer, the ward member for Bickley, told the local democracy reporting service.

“We will take action again if needed and where a resident’s bonfire may be deemed to be a nuisance too, investigating the relatively low numbers of reports we receive.”

The council have previously warned against the lighting of bonfires during the coronavirus lockdown and have stated the authority would take action against residents who are causing a statutory nuisance by lighting them.

Cllr Lymer added the impact of bonfires was heightened at a time when many residents were unable to leave their homes due to the lockdown.

“I think we also need to say that it’s extremely inconsiderate at such a highly sensitive time due to Covid-19, when so many people are using their gardens in the fine weather, to be having bonfires,”  she said.

However, she rejected the suggestion bonfires were having a major impact on air quality in the borough.

Independent air monitors have recorded spikes of PM2.5 and PM10 – tiny airborne particles which can include dust, particulate matter and smoke – following reports of bonfires in the borough.

But Cllr Lymer said there was “many factors” influencing pollution levels and air conditions in the borough.

“It is quite wrong though to suggest that small bonfires are having an adverse major impact on air quality with many factors to consider here but with the current Covid-19 situation recognised as generally having the effect of reducing pollution,” she said.

“Previous expert pollution monitoring a couple of weeks ago concluded that bonfires could not be detected whereas wood burning, from heating could, which has a different chemical signature from bonfires.”