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Bonfires, air pollution and smells

Bonfires and burning household waste

The rules for having bonfires and burning household waste.

Be considerate to your neighbours when deciding whether to have a bonfire. Smoke from bonfires can make respiratory conditions such as asthma or bronchitis worse. Consider using our garden waste collection services instead.

Bonfires

Bonfires can cause nuisance to other people and animals:

  • by making asthma, bronchitis or other respiratory conditions worse
  • by affecting visibility for drivers on nearby roads
  • because fire can spread to nearby fences or buildings
  • because piles of garden waste are often used by animals for shelter

There are no laws against having a bonfire, but there are laws against the nuisance they can cause.  This can lead to legal action being taken against the person responsible for the fire.

Burning household waste

You can’t get rid of household waste in a way that will cause pollution or harm to people’s health.  This includes burning it. 

There are better ways of dealing with waste that don’t affect air quality:

Danger to traffic by smoke

You could be fined if you light a fire and allow the smoke to drift across a road, causing a danger to traffic.

Having a bonfire

If you would still like to have a bonfire:

  • use dry material only
  • avoid burning at weekends and bank holidays
  • don’t burn tyres, cables, plastics, rubber, painted products or household waste
  • don’t leave a fire unattended, even when it’s just smouldering
  • warn neighbours that you are going to have a bonfire

If bonfires cause a problem

You can tell us about bonfires that cause a problem with smoke, smells or dust if they:

  • are a statutory nuisance 
  • happen regularly over 14 days, you'll need to fill in a diary