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Bonfire and Smoke guidance

Advice on having bonfires and what materials are not allowed to be burnt.


You are allowed to have a bonfire if you are disposing of certain types of material or garden waste. However, we would recommend that you find other ways to dispose of your waste first - this could be through recycling, composting or taking it to your nearest Household Recycling Centre..

There are certain materials that you cannot burn. These include household rubbish, rubber tyres, plastic, paint or foam.

If you must have a bonfire then please:

  • Only burn dry material
  • Never burn household rubbish, rubber tyres, plastic paint or foam
  • Do not burn when the air is damp and still, or when it is too windy (as roads and neighbours may be badly affected)
  • Keep fires under control and be mindful of trees, fences and buildings
  • Never use oil, petrol or methylated spirits to light a fire
  • Never leave a fire unattended, put it out when you leave

Bonfires can cause air pollution, make health conditions worse (such as asthma and bronchitis), can spread if not controlled properly and also damage property and wildlife habitat. The Council also will investigate complaints against smoke, with action taken against those who are causing a nuisance. More information about making a complaint.

If you see people burning materials that they shouldn't, please get in touch with the Council so they can investigate.

Burning material on Trade Premises and Construction Sites

Businesses have a duty of care to manage their waste correctly. There are no legal restrictions to stop contractors from burning site-derived green waste, sawdust, shavings and cuttings from untreated on site (although this is not encouraged.)

However, it is an offence to have a bonfire with 'dark smoke,' usually resulting from burning materials containing chemicals such as insulation and polystyrene. The Council will investigate these types of bonfire, and if you are making a complaint, it would be useful if you could provide photographic evidence of the dark smoke and materials being burned. The Council will also investigate repeated smoky bonfires which have a detrimental impact on local residents (e.g property is being covered in ash or residents cannot have their window open).