If you decide to have a bonfire, here are some guidelines to reduce the risk of your fire causing a problem.
- advise your nearest neighbours before lighting a bonfire
- only burn dry material and burn the material quickly in small quantities so the minimum amount of smoke is created
- choose your bonfire site carefully away from trees, fences and windows
- avoid having a bonfire when the wind is blowing in the direction of your neighbours, and avoid having one on a bank holiday or at weekends
- burn grass clippings or ‘green’ material as this creates thick smoke
- burn oily rags, rubber and plastics as they create heavy smoke or toxic fumes
- light a bonfire when your neighbours are drying washing, are out enjoying their gardens or have windows wide open
- use petrol, methylated spirits or similar to light the fire
- light bonfires one hour before dusk or leave them burning overnight as smoke hangs in the air on damp, still days and in the evening
- ever leave the fire unattended
Please be aware that if you light a fire and you allow the smoke to drift across the road and it becomes a danger to traffic, you could be fined under the Highways Act 1980. People should report such incidences directly to the Police.
Reporting bonfire smoke
Smoke may be classed as a statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. A smoke nuisance must be frequent and interfere with the use or enjoyment of your home, such as smoke filling your house or you cannot use the garden. This does not include inconvenience or that you can see or smell the smoke.
We will investigate problems caused by smoke or fumes that are emitted from both domestic and commercial premises. Before contacting us try to resolve the problem first:
- approach the person causing the nuisance and politely make them aware of the issue and how it is affecting you – often people are not aware they are causing a nuisance
- listen to their point of view, compromise and try to find an amicable solution
- keep records of all your conversations or any correspondence you send or receive
- if speaking directly to the person does not help you can make a complaint to us
If after investigating the issue and we decide that the bonfire is causing a nuisance:
- we will approach the person responsible and ask them to stop
- if they refuse our request, a notice may be served to stop them having further bonfires
- failure to comply with the notice could lead to court action and a fine of up to £5,000 or £20,000 for a business