Bonfire smoke can spoil your neighbour's the enjoyment of their property, preventing them from opening their windows or hanging out washing. It can also reduce visibility in your neighbourhood, putting motorists, cyclists and pedestrians at risk. Those residents who suffer from chest complaints, such as asthma, are also badly affected by smoke.
The Council discourages residents and businesses from burning waste (including garden cuttings) and recommends that all waste is either composted or sent to an authorised waste site.
Information for Residents
It is not illegal to have a bonfire on your property and there are no restrictions on the times of day when it is permissible to do so. However, the smoke and ash from a bonfire can cause an actionable statutory nuisance if it significantly affects a nearby resident or business. Care must be taken to ensure that your neighbours are not significantly affected by your actions.
Information for Businesses
Fires containing trade or commercial waste are illegal unless subject to an exemption from the Environment Agency - details of this exemption are available on the gov.uk website:
This exemption allows you to burn plant tissue and untreated wood waste from joinery or manufacturing in the open air.
If you would like to find out more about how to dispose of trade and commercial waste correctly please contact the Environment Agency:
- Telephone: 03708 506 506 (Mon-Fri 08:00 to 18:00)
- Online: Contact the Environmental Health Agency
- Website: Environment Agency
It is also an offence to burn any materials on industrial premises, trade premises or which has come from a business which will create dark smoke. This includes; plastics, oil, paint, rubber, mattresses, sofas, tyres, painted or coated wood, chipboard and particle board.
Smoke and ash from a commercial bonfire can also cause an actionable statutory nuisance.
Making a complaint
The Environmental Protection Team can investigate complaints where a resident or business is being significantly affected by smoke from a neighbours bonfire. You can also let us know if a bonfire on industrial premise, trade premises or associated with a business practice is producing dark smoke.
We will normally telephone you to talk about the problem. We may then visit your home to assess the nuisance and if appropriate we can then approach the person responsible.
The Environmental Protection Team do not enforce waste management regulations and concerns regarding bonfires containing trade or commercial waste should be referred to the Environment Agency Incident Hotline on 0800 80 70 60 (24hrs).