BIGGAR is set to celebrate Hogmanay in style this year as the town is given the go-ahead for its annual bonfire.

The coronavirus pandemic put paid to plans for the bonfire in 2020, and last year the annual tradition was cancelled after South Lanarkshire Council (SLC) and its partners raised safety concerns.

But now the Biggar Bonfire is back, with organisers confirming the approval by the licensing committee at SLC on Wednesday (December 14).

A spokesperson said: "We are delighted to confirm that SLC have granted our licence for this year's Hogmanay Bonfire!"

Ahead of Wednesday's announcement, organisers outlined to the community some of the changes to this year's event, including a smaller bonfire, and additional costs due to rising prices.

They said: "As it stands, we are awaiting SGN (Scottish Gas Network) to mark out the area on site (much smaller this year 5m x 5m) and we expect this to be done in the next two weeks. Following this the gravel bed will be laid.

"As you are all aware H&S (health and safety) rules and regulations are changing constantly and we have to adhere to these to ensure this event continues. In addition, all costs associated with the event are to be borne by the community.

"Costs have risen dramatically as a result and whilst we have made a successful application for funds to cover this years event, we still need a ‘fighting fund’ to cover any additional costs and to help raise funds towards planning for 2023.

"Plans are being made for a GoFundMe page which will launch shortly. We need your support more than ever now to ensure this event not only continues but can return to its normal scale in future years.

"Moving forward, all event information relating to the fire each year will be posted on this page. Please note there will be no collections and drop offs this year as in order to accommodate new regulations we are to personally source all materials.

"Let’s work together to retain and maintain this fantastic community event."

This year the bonfire will be lit by Maureen Gray.

In 2021 the Hogmanay bonfire was cancelled due to continued COVID-19 guidance from the Scottish Government over large gatherings, much to the disappointment of the community.

But earlier in the year organisers had been told that event could have been stopped due to safety concerns.

The Events Safety Advisory Group (ESAG) – a multi-agency group which provides advice on public events – raised concerns over the location of a gas pipe which runs under the site used by the bonfire.

The site had been used for 30 years with pre-event safety checks in place, including the laying of aggregate under the bonfire and gas leak checks by SGN the day before.

Gravel and aggregate will be delivered to the town square on Monday (December 19).

Last year, in a bid to save the bonfire, a petition was created.

This petition remained open throughout this year and had amassed 3,774 signatures by the time the organisers announced the approval from SLC.