Bonfires, air pollution and smells

Bonfires and burning household waste

The rules for having bonfires and burning household waste.


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

Contact information

Trading Standards (100TS)

PO Box 3399

Bristol, BS1 9NE

Opening Hours

Our normal opening hours are:

  • Monday to Thursday, 8.30am to 5pm
  • Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm

Tel: 0117 922 2500, option 2