It is not an offence to have a bonfire, but there are laws about the effects of smoke, smell and ash from bonfires. Bonfires can be considered to be a statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act when causing a nuisance to neighbouring residents.
You cannot burn:
- household or garden waste if it will cause pollution or harm people's health.
- substances that cause noxious fumes or dark smoke. This may result in action being taken under the Clean Air Act 1993
- plastics, rubber, household refuse, foam, painted timber or material contaminated with oil.
If you are considering having a bonfire, think about how it could affect your neighbours. Avoid burning at weekends, public holidays and on sunny days when people are outside enjoying their gardens.
Before burning anything, speak with your neighbours and allow them time to remove washing and close windows.
It is better to find other ways of getting rid of waste.
Garden and household waste
There are environmentally friendly ways of dealing with garden waste and household items. Rather than causing unnecessary pollution by burning items/waste, you can:
- request garden waste collection – up to five bags of garden waste can be collected free of charge per week.
- request bulky waste collection.
Trade or industrial premises
Any bonfire on trade or industrial premises which causes dark smoke is an offence regardless of whether anybody else is affected. The offence is under the Clean Air Act 1993. Fines of up to £20,000 can be made for each offence.
Demolition and construction sites
We have produced a Code of Practice to ensure constructions sites operate with consideration to our residents. Burning materials on construction sites is not permitted.
For further information on reducing emissions to control pollution and dust from construction sites, read the code of practice: Control of Pollution and noise from demolition and construction sites