We receive many complaints about smoke and smell from bonfires. Bonfires can be a significant and avoidable source of local air pollution which may:

  • cause considerable nuisance to neighbours
  • lead to legal action for smoke nuisance being taken against the person responsible for the bonfire, or the owner or occupier of the premises where the bonfire is situated.

How to make a complaint about a bonfire

What to do if you are bothered by a neighbour's bonfire

The person(s) responsible for the bonfire may not be aware of the effects that it is having.  Where possible, discuss the problem with them, as this will often sort the matter out and also help maintain good neighbour relations.

If this does not resolve the problem, or if you feel unable to contact the person responsible, you can ask us to investigate the complaint on your behalf.

What you will need to tell us

  • your name, address and telephone number.  We are not able to deal with anonymous complaints but will deal with your complaint in confidence and not pass your details on without your agreement.
  • the address where the bonfire is happening.
  • the name of the person responsible or occupier of the premises, if known.
  • details of how the bonfire affects you and when and how often it happens.

Other problems caused by bonfires

  • the smoke causes problems for sufferers from asthma, bronchitis or other respiratory conditions.
  • visibility for drivers on nearby roads may be affected.
  • they are a potential safety risk and fire can spread to nearby fences or buildings if the bonfire is not kept under control.
  • piles of garden waste are often used as a refuge by hibernating animals and other wildlife.

There are better ways of dealing with garden and other waste, which do not affect local air quality.

To help with this, we have produced an information leaflet about bonfires (pdf, 134 KB) (opens new window) , which contains advice about composting, recycling and other means of disposal of unwanted materials.