It is not illegal to have a domestic bonfire however, you must ensure that any smoke and ash given off from the fire does not affect your neighbours.
If you do have a bonfire, use common sense, consider your neighbours and only burn clean, dry garden matter that cannot be composted.
When having a bonfire never:
- Burn household rubbish or tyres;
- Burn any materials containing plastic and paint;
- Light a bonfire close to fences, trees or buildings;
- Leave a bonfire unattended;
- Put petrol, paraffin, diesel, lighter fuel, or old oil on a fire;
- Have a bonfire in damp or windy conditions;
- Allow your bonfire to smoulder;
- Allow smoke from a bonfire to drift across a highway - this is an offence.
If you rent an allotment in the Borough additional rules may apply to restrict or prohibit the lighting of bonfires.
If someone has frequent garden bonfires or creates unreasonable levels of smoke from a bonfire they may be causing a statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
How we investigate complaints
We will require you to complete a smoke diary to detail how and when you are affected by the smoke.
We will contact the person having the bonfire to make them aware that a complaint has been received.
Other measures to gather evidence can include officers monitoring the bonfire themselves.
If it is determined that a statutory nuisance exists, there are a number of legal powers available to resolve the problem, including service of an enforcement notice and prosecution.
Commercial businesses have a duty to dispose of their waste in a lawful manner. This involves disposing of waste by licensed waste disposal companies and to receive a waste transfer notice for all waste that is disposed of.
It is an offence to burn commercial waste as a method of waste disposal, and any person found to be carrying out the activity can face prosecution for their actions. This includes burning commercial waste at a residential property.
Burning which causes dark smoke is a direct offence under the Clean Air Act 1993. Offences relating to such activity can result in an unlimited fine.
The Environmental Protection Team is available to provide advice on smoke control measures for both residential and commercial premises.
Our service hours are Monday to Thursday 09:00 till 17:00, and Friday 09:00 till 16:30.