Burning waste and bonfires can cause a nuisance and often cause complaints.
There are no local by laws allowing or prohibiting bonfires, but there are national laws that can be enforced to protect the environment and minimise nuisance from bonfires.
If you do decide to have a bonfire we advise taking these steps to avoid causing a nuisance
- Don’t burn damp grass clippings or ‘green’ material as this creates thick smoke
- Don’t burn any oily rags, rubber, plastics, damp garden waste or other materials which would inevitably create heavy smoke or toxic fumes.
- Do not light a bonfire when your neighbours have washing drying, or are out enjoying their gardens or have windows wide open.
- Don’t light bonfires one hour before dusk, or leave them burning overnight. Choose the time of day and weather conditions that will cause the least inconvenience to neighbours.
- Do not leave your fire to smoulder for long periods. Never leave a fire unattended. Hose it down until cold before you leave it.
- Please advise your nearest neighbours before you light a bonfire so they can be prepared for any minor inconvenience that may arise
What are the alternatives?
Why not avoid a bonfire altogether by
- Composting your garden waste,
- Reducing the amount of waste you produce
- Recycling, find out what recycling options are available near you here
- Or arranging for a legitimate disposal of your waste?
Can I burn commercial waste?
Commercial premises should not burn any waste without checking with the Environment Agency.
Burning trade waste without a permit or an exemption can result in substantial fines.
Commercial waste must not be brought home and burnt at your household address.
For further information contact the
- Environment Agency
- Telephone: 03708 506506
The Environmental Protection Act 1990
Although there are no local by-laws allowing or prohibiting bonfires, there are national laws that can be enforced to protect the environment and minimise nuisance from bonfires.
The Environmental Protection Act 1990 allows the Council to take action against any person having a bonfire that produces smoke on a frequent or persistent basis or which heavily interferes with a persons wellbeing at home.
An abatement notice may be served to the person responsible, with the potential for heavy fines for non-compliance.
The Clean Air Act 1993 makes it an offence to produce dark smoke from any industrial or trade premises (including building contractors at your home), regardless of whether or not the smoke is or has been causing a nuisance. The maximum fine for a conviction under the Clean Air Act is £20,000.
Highways Act 1980
Anyone lighting a fire and allowing smoke to drift across a road faces a fine if it endangers traffic. Please contact the police if this is the case.