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Bonfires - first world problems in rural France.

Bonfires - first world problems in rural France.

Old Sep 9th 2021, 11:31 am
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Default Bonfires - first world problems in rural France.

Has anyone had problems with neighbours and bonfires? The house across for me keeps a small fire-pit bordering my top garden. He's retired, and despite having a large communal recycle bin just 10m from the front of his house, every week he burns a very small mixture of garden material, coupled with lots of things in tin foil (no idea what's inside), plastic junk, food items, medical packets - a toxic hotchpotch. If it's a hot day and I've got the windows open, the whole house is filled with the stench of this toxic potpourri. On occasion I've had to give up working in my top garden because I'm coughing in the fumes.

In the spirit of non-confrontation, which I've practiced over all the decades of my life, I've never directly asked them to stop, hoping tacitly they might associate my coughing fits to the smoke blowing across, or if not, to at least know the rules and regulations for the department. When that didn't work I stuck up a notice on our hamlet notice board. In our department there's a 450 euro fine for anybody making a personal bonfire.

I was hoping the hint might be taken, but the old man continues to burn his rubbish.
His relatives also live in the hamlet and are farmers, so the rules are less clear to me. However they piled up their vegetation in the woods last night (not the most ideal place to start a fire), following the storm. The woods border our piece of woodland and bottom garden. I was in my living room last evening when the stench hit us all - they filled the entire hamlet with dense smoke. I went to investigate the source, and in with the vegetation there were lots of pieces of plastic (mostly food items, empty coffee packets etc.) and lots of tin foil. I was a little peeved as my wife is suffering from asthma at the moment, and we have our windows open at night as it's been pretty hot, so I got a number of watering cans and put it out so it wouldn't continue smouldering through until the next day, and also to prevent them restarting it.

Today we had to complain at the town hall, so at some point the mayor will mention it to them, but failing that I guess our only recourse would be to report it to the gendarmerie.

Sorry this ended up a little verbose, but I wondered if anyone has been in the same situation? On the one hand I don't want start a tit-for-tat war, but on the other, if I say nothing I'll have to endure these toxic plumes. I'm also not clear with the regulations for farmers making bonfires. I think they were burning this stuff for their relative (hence all the rubbish thrown in with it), if it was out in the middle of a field far away, and was just vegetation I'd have no problem with it. They're not the worst neighbours in the world, but they aren't that respectful to the others in the hamlet around them, for years we've remained indifferent to one another. Just a fortnight ago they themselves dug up a trench in their drive for the installation of a cable, and threw a lot of earth and stone all over the edge of my grass. I spent a couple of hours collecting up the stones, and raking out as much mud as I could so the grass would survive. The month before that they carelessly cut through our phone line whilst pruning with their tractor (no apology), and then a week later, did exactly the same thing to a neighbour on the other side of the hamlet.
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Old Sep 10th 2021, 12:56 pm
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Default Re: Bonfires - first world problems in rural France.

Don't involve the gendarmes. They are not user friendly and it could backfire on the whole commune.
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Old Sep 11th 2021, 5:52 am
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Default Re: Bonfires - first world problems in rural France.

I agree with Cardi, don't approach the gendarmes yourself.
If you've reported it to the mairie, it's the mayor's job now so give him chance to do it. If you have a municipal policeman in your commune, the mayor may send him round to have a word. The police are very different to the gendarmes. Or the mayor may have a word himself, or he may do naff all about it either because the farmer is his old pal or because he's lazy.
Have you spoken to your other neighbours about it? Better together as they say, if a number of you act together to exert pressure it is often more effective than one person acting on their own.
Bon courage
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Old Sep 11th 2021, 7:43 am
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Default Re: Bonfires - first world problems in rural France.

The mayor told us at the time, he's not the police and all he can do is warn them of a complaint, but can't do more, if they continue we would have no other course of action. A relative of one of my wife's colleagues had the gendarmes over once, because they'd started a bonfire in their garden, I'm not sure if they were fined or not, but I think it was the last bonfire they lit.

The notice is on the board, the mayor should have had a word by now, so if they continue to burn I'm not sure if there's any further options? We have protection juridique with our insurance for legal advice and action. We have another good neighbour who has reported them for other things in the past which has resulted in inspections and fines, but they're on the other side of the hamlet so are usually not too affected by the bonfires, especially the multitude of small ones to burn household rubbish.

Last edited by G-J-B; Sep 11th 2021 at 7:47 am.
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Old Sep 11th 2021, 7:59 am
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Default Re: Bonfires - first world problems in rural France.

It is actually part of the mayor's duty to ensure that residents live together peacefully so arguably it sounds as if he's not doing all he could, and he doesn't have as much respect and clout in the commune as he should, I guess the two things go together. Our mayor here is quite good and if somebody persists in upsetting the neighbours by doing something he shouldn't be doing and has been asked not to do, the mayor tends to make it a personal crusade not to let them get away with it, he doesn't like people challenging his authority. It's is unfortunate yours doesn't seem to see it like that, but if he doesn't he doesn't.
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Old Sep 11th 2021, 12:02 pm
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Default Re: Bonfires - first world problems in rural France.

The person who lit the big bonfire is an adjoints au Maire. We told the mayor the person in question should know better and uphold the law.
It's all a bit complex though, as the mayor probably doesn't care for us much, as we're part of an association opposed to plans he's trying to bring to our commune. We also had one of our kids bullied on the bus by a much older kid, years ago now, and everybody was washing their hands of it - the school, the bus driver, the mayor - my wife ended up having quite a go at the latter until something was done about it.
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Old Sep 14th 2021, 2:38 pm
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Default Re: Bonfires - first world problems in rural France.

Originally Posted by G-J-B View Post
The person who lit the big bonfire is an adjoints au Maire. We told the mayor the person in question should know better and uphold the law.
It's all a bit complex though, as the mayor probably doesn't care for us much, as we're part of an association opposed to plans he's trying to bring to our commune. We also had one of our kids bullied on the bus by a much older kid, years ago now, and everybody was washing their hands of it - the school, the bus driver, the mayor - my wife ended up having quite a go at the latter until something was done about it.
There is the environmental police

http://metiers-biodiversite.fr/fonct...-environnement

not sure how effective they would be.

You probably suffer from the same issues as us and it’s time to cut and run find a new commune because you never win here even when you think you have.
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Old Sep 14th 2021, 11:53 pm
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Default Re: Bonfires - first world problems in rural France.

Yes, there is nothing for it. These kinds of people get away with it.

Move out or find a way to bear with the suffering from their behaviors. Maybe something happens to them and they can't continue their rubbish next to your boundry line eventually.

I agree with Chatter Static that those who are not french do not 'win' against the french ways in France.

I hope you both find peace of home and that they either lose the love of this rubbish burning or get tired of keeping on with it.

I'm consistantly mildly shocked with all what french neighbors will put up with from each other. If they do react to rude boundry breaking abusive behavior from neighbors the results don't appear to be effective, it's plain pathetic and nothing changes for years and years in our experience.

We try to focus on all of the reasons why we came here and what is good about it. If we could leave we would, it just isn't possible, probably won't be for a few years excepting a miracle.

Bad neighbors ruin lives, or at least take years off of them.

Are you renting or do you own your place?
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Old Sep 15th 2021, 6:27 am
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Default Re: Bonfires - first world problems in rural France.

Thanks for the replies - I'm not sure if they're burning sufficient quantities of plastic for the environmental police to take notice, but I'll bare it in mind. I'm hoping after the chat from the mayor they won't do it again - so far so good, but I'll have to wait and see.
We're fine with our neighbours in most respects - we're indifferent, but we'll wave hello if we pass. They don't play loud music, or bother us in other ways, they're just a bit inconsiderate to others, not out of maliciousness, just a difference of education I guess. We own the house, and certainly wouldn't consider moving out, that's not a good solution at all. Besides you could end up in a worse situation elsewhere. I'm the only English person in the family, and my wife (French) knows how to give as good as it gets - she'll speak her mind if she has to. I'm just not prepared to get into any tit-for-tat games with our neighbour should it go that far.
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Old Sep 15th 2021, 3:47 pm
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Default Re: Bonfires - first world problems in rural France.

Yes, the revenge aspect can be pretty bad if it goes too far. Best wishes. Nice then you have a french family to deal with things the 'french way'. Hopefully there will be a good result.
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Old Sep 15th 2021, 4:05 pm
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Default Re: Bonfires - first world problems in rural France.

Basically bonfires are interdit as interestingly the sale of incinerateurs
https://www.service-public.fr/partic...sdroits/F31858
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Old Sep 15th 2021, 7:13 pm
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Default Re: Bonfires - first world problems in rural France.

Originally Posted by Listen Very Carefully View Post
Basically bonfires are interdit as interestingly the sale of incinerateurs
https://www.service-public.fr/partic...sdroits/F31858
Obviously farmers didn’t get that memo. Our commune has started land filling dechets vert because it’s cheaper. I suspect it might back fire at some point
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Old Sep 16th 2021, 5:34 am
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Default Re: Bonfires - first world problems in rural France.

Thanks and for the link. This bit was interesting :"Par exemple, brûler 50 kg de végétaux à l'air libre émet autant de particules fines que rouler pendant 14 000 km avec une voiture à essence neuve." - doesn't help when you throw household rubbish into the mix. They own a small section of wood next to ours - about a year ago I saw them take their tractor, dig a hole, put something in it and cover it with a large mound of earth. Unfortunately I didn't see what they put there, but I'm sure it would be rubbish or something toxic.
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Old Sep 16th 2021, 6:32 am
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Default Re: Bonfires - first world problems in rural France.

Originally Posted by G-J-B View Post
about a year ago I saw them take their tractor, dig a hole, put something in it and cover it with a large mound of earth. Unfortunately I didn't see what they put there, but I'm sure it would be rubbish or something toxic.
Or the aftermath of a very badly blocked toilet?
Probably best not go sniffing around../
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Old Sep 16th 2021, 7:30 am
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Default Re: Bonfires - first world problems in rural France.

Lol! Think the nose might have detected something like that on the way past. Probably more sanitary than burying rubbish anyway.
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