There is no law against having bonfires. If materials used are dry, burn quickly and produce white/grey smoke that is not directly blowing consistently towards an occupied residence, then there is little or no problem.
Garden or domestic bonfire smoke can be very irritating or cause stress to those exposed to it. The smoke could potentially contain gases and particles which can affect the health of people with pre existing conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and heart problems. Exposure to bonfire smoke is short lived however, and serious harm is unlikely.
However, there are laws relating to any nuisance bonfires may cause. See the GOV.UK website ('Internet Links') for more information.
Suffering from Bonfire Nuisance?
Firstly, we recommend you speak politely to the source of the bonfire. They may not even realise they are causing you a problem.
Please be aware you will be required to disclose your address details and also the details of the source of the bonfire. Environmental Health is unable to act on anonymous calls.
- why not join our garden waste scheme? If you are a keen gardener and often have green waste, get it collected instead
- give composting a go or use a shredding machine to reduce hardwood materials to a mulch to re-use on your garden
Here is some useful advice for those wishing to have bonfires:
- let your neighbours know in advance
- try to stick to having bonfires after 6pm
- make sure all materials are dry/non-toxic and will burn quickly
- choose a time when wind is unlikely to take smoke into any adjacent premises
- try not to have a bonfire more than once a month (have one larger bonfire rather than multiple smaller ones)
- supervise the fire and if a problem arises, put it out
- make sure the fire is put out at the end of the day and not left to smolder overnight
- is there any other method you could use to dispose of waste i.e. composting