There are no specific laws which prohibit bonfires or place time
restrictions on them. However, if the smoke (or ash etc) affects
your property and stops you doing something, for example gardening
or hanging out washing, then we may be able to help.
- If you are a private householder, please contact Environmental
Health on 01695 577177.
- If you are a council tenant, you need to contact your Housing
Officer at the Estate Management and Tenant Participation Team on
We will attempt to respond to any complaints concerning bonfires
that are burning at that time within one working day - subject to
Precautions to take if you are having a
- Inform your neighbours
- Never burn rubber, synthetic material or other chemicals as
these can produce toxic and damaging fumes.
- Site the bonfire carefully, ensuring that it is as far as
possible from any fences or buildings, and that the wind direction
will not blow smoke into neighbouring premises.
- Never light a bonfire when neighbours have laundry drying.
- Ensure the bonfire is supervised at all times and that it is
- At no time should the smoke blow onto the road. This is an
offence under the Highways Act.
Alternatives to burning
There is no need to burn waste because:
- General household waste can be deposited in either your bin or
your recycling receptacles. Please see the Refuse and
Recycling section for more information.
- Larger items (e.g. old beds, wardrobes, fridges etc.) can be
collected by the Council. You can arrange a bulky item collection online or
call 01695 577177.
- Garden cuttings may be composted in green bins.
- Any quantity of domestic rubbish or garden waste can be taken
to the Household Waste Recycling Centres located
across the Borough.
- A wide variety of materials can be recycled. Please see the
Recycling section for
Legal action against bonfires
Bonfires are illegal if they cause a nuisance to others i.e. if the
smoke affects other people. The Environmental Protection Act 1990
makes smoke pollution an offence. An owner, occupier or person
responsible for the nuisance can be served with a smoke abatement
notice preventing further nuisance.
The Clean Air Act 1993 makes emissions of dark or black smoke from
the burning of trade waste an offence for which the Council can
take legal proceedings.
Individuals can initiate legal action against under section 82 of
the Environmental Protection Act 1990. For this to succeed you will
have to prove your case in Court and may wish to instruct a