We use necessary cookies to make our site work. We also set analytics cookies to help us improve it, this information is collected in a way that does not allow us to identify anyone. Find out more about our cookies and how to block them. Find out more about Cookies

Please think of others while you are staying at home. While everyone is confined, we would advise against all bonfires - the smoke building up in people's living rooms is likely to be detrimental to health. Read this page for alternative ideas and to find out how to report a bonfire.

Bonfires and smoke

A bonfire can be a handy way to dispose of garden waste but it is important 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.

If you must have a bonfire, we recommend you take into account the following:

  • Consider other ways of getting rid of it, such as composting the garden waste.

  • Position 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.

  • Never leave a fire to smoulder, put it out with water or soil.

  • 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 using our online form.

In order 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 and significant way.

Factors considered when assessing statutory nuisance include:

  • duration and frequency of the bonfire

  • time of day

  • amount of smoke coming from the bonfire

  • your location.

Investigating your bonfire complaint

  • You will need to keep a record of dates, times and how the bonfire is affecting you.

  • An officer will look at your bonfire record information and 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 necessarily 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 undertake your own private legal action.

  • If you have reported the bonfires and are concerned that not enough is being done, you can raise a 'Community Trigger'.

    The Community Trigger helps you get a review of your case by ourselves, the police and other parties, such as the housing provider. The review will focus on working together to find a solution.