England

Kent and Sussex bonfire season starts amid fire strike

Lewes bonfire parade 2013 Image copyright AFP
Image caption One of the biggest bonfire events in the UK takes place in Lewes on Wednesday

Extra precautions are in place at fireworks events in the South East as the bonfire season gets under way during a four-day firefighters' strike.

The Battel Bonfire Boyes told the BBC they had plenty of control measures in place for their procession on Saturday.

The Hop Farm in Kent has extra security guards, extinguishers and water barrels for four days of fireworks, and is checking visitors for sparklers.

The Fire Brigades' Union (FBU) has gone on strike in a dispute over pensions.

'Always at risk'

Bonfire traditions are particularly strong in Sussex with processions held throughout the autumn months, but the FBU said the timing of the strike would not put people in danger.

Jim Parrott, from the FBU, said: "People are put at risk 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. The timing of this doesn't make any difference to that. They're always at risk."

Fire Minister Penny Mordaunt has said fire and rescue authorities have "robust" plans in place for the weekend.

Southeastern has laid on extra trains for the Battle Bonfire Boyes event on Saturday, with additional services between Hastings, Battle and Tonbridge.

One of the biggest bonfire events in the UK takes place in Lewes on Wednesday. About 30,000 people attended last year.

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