Report a bonfire
A bonfire can be a handy way to get rid of garden waste but you need to be aware of the impact on your neighbours and the environment.
There is no law against having a bonfire, though it is an offence for the smoke, smell and ash to cause a nuisance. We recommend you look at other ways of getting rid of garden waste, such as composting.
If you must have a bonfire, we recommend you:
- have your bonfire as far away from buildings as possible
- do not light a fire if the wind will carry the smoke over roads or into your neighbours' gardens or property
- burn only dry wood and plant waste. Do not burn material that will create toxic fumes, for example, plastic, rubber or aerosols
- put the bonfire out with water
- remember that smoke hangs in the air on damp, windless days and in the evening
Report a bonfire
If you are being disturbed by bonfire smoke and ash, try politely discussing the issue with your neighbour. They may not realise they are causing a problem.
If the situation does not improve, you can report a bonfire. For us to take action, the bonfire must be classed as a statutory nuisance. This means the bonfire you wish to report must be more than an annoyance, and affecting you in an unreasonable way.
- you will need to keep a record of dates, times and how the bonfire is affecting you
- an officer may arrange to visit to witness the bonfire disturbance
- if the bonfire is a statutory nuisance, the officer will issue an abatement notice. This does not put a stop to the bonfires but may help reduce the numbers
- if the bonfire nuisance continues and evidence is sufficient, we may take the offender to court for not complying with the abatement notice
- you may also be able to take your own private legal action
- if you have reported the bonfires and are concerned that not enough is being done, you can then raise a community trigger