Councils always get complaints, but scientists have been busily burning leaves in a giant chamber to understand the problem
A team of French scientists has been investigating air pollution from bonfires. They used a specifically constructed fire chamber: a big room that could easily accommodate one or two whole houses, added instrumentation in the extract ducts, spread a bed of sand on the floor and set about burning leaves and hedge trimmings.
Bonfires are a frequent source of complaints to UK local councils, and in some places these complaints quadrupled during the 2020 lockdown. But little is known about the air pollution they cause. This means they are often assumed to produce pollution that is similar to home fires and wood stoves.