The law on bonfires

There are no by-laws specifically banning or controlling bonfires. However frequent bonfires can cause a nuisance to neighbours. 

Is the bonfire a nuisance?

To qualify as a nuisance a bonfire has to be a recurring problem and must interfere substantially with nearby residents' well-being, comfort or enjoyment of their property Smoke and ash from bonfires can be a serious health hazard, producing toxic fumes and particulates.  Plastics, paint, foam, rubber etc. must not be burnt.  Bonfires can also be a fire hazard, especially during dry weather and should never be left unattended. 

Dealing with the problem

If you are affected by persistent bonfire smoke please try contacting the person responsible and explaining the problem. This may be enough to resolve the matter.

If this approach fails, you can contact the Environmental Health Team.


Disposing of waste without a bonfire

We recommend you try alternative ways to dispose of garden and kitchen waste, such as recycling the material in a compost bin.

Household waste and bulky items should never be burnt on a bonfire. This type of waste should be taken to our Recycling Centre or collected via our free Bulky Waste collection service.

Dos and Don'ts of Occasional bonfires


  • burn dry material only
  • avoid bonfires at weekends or bank holidays when neighbours wish to enjoy their homes and gardens without smoke nuisance
  • avoid days when wind will carry smoke across roads or onto neighbours' gardens



  • never burn household rubbish, tyres or anything containing synthetic materials
  • never use oil, methylated spirits or petrol to light a fire
  • don't light fires on damp, still days or evenings, as smoke will not disperse
  • never leave a fire unattended; if you cannot stay, put it out and ensure there are no smouldering remnants

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