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. Consider using our garden waste collection services instead.
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:
- garden waste can be dealt with by composting, after a few months it will turn into an excellent fertiliser
- we can also collect garden waste, other waste and bulky items or you can take it to your local tip or recycling centre
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
- are a statutory nuisance
- happen regularly over 14 days, you'll need to fill in a diary