SIR: What behaviour is Winchester City Council trying to encourage by introducing a £59 annual subscription charge for households to dispose of their garden refuse?

The introduction of any policy should be designed to promote a positive change in behaviour. When the UK government introduced a charge for single use plastic bags in England it managed to achieve this objective, with plastic bag usage falling by 86 per cent - good result!

This proposed policy will encourage negative behaviour changes, with those on a budget, or those who do not care about their fellow residents to opt for the cheap, easy option - a bonfire.

I live in a village, which has seen considerable development in the past ten years and now has 150 homes within a 0.08 square mile area, so when a household has a bonfire, even in the adjoining villages, many homes and residents are impacted and my asthmatic wife is regularly left struggling to breath by this antisocial and inconsiderate behaviour.

Bonfire smoke is made up of a complex mixture of gases and fine particles and these microscopic particles contain several toxic, harmful and carcinogenic air pollutants, including: benzene, formaldehyde, acrolein and PAHs along with vast quantities of carbon monoxide, which cause health concerns for many people within our communities.

Introducing a charge for the disposal of garden waste will financially penalise those who are trying to do the right thing for their communities and environment unless the city council brings in legislation and charges to regulate bonfires.

I would like to remind our councillors that they have a duty of care to the constituents of Hampshire and should not introduce policies that cause: actual harm and distress to the vulnerable in our communities; added pressure on our NHS and fire services; and have a negative impact on climate change.

Quentin Whitfield,

Warnford Road,