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Bonfires

Advice on having bonfires and what to do if you need to make a complaint

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, your brown bin (garden waste only) composting or taking it to your nearest Household Recycling Centre

There are some materials that you can't burn. These include household rubbish, rubber tyres, plastic, paint and 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 the bonfire out when you leave

Problems with bonfires

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. We will also investigate complaints against smoke, with action taken against those who are causing a nuisance. Read more about how to make a complaint and the complaints process.

If you see people burning materials that they shouldn't, please get in touch with us so we 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.

It is an offence to have a bonfire with 'dark smoke'. This usually results from burning materials containing chemicals such as insulation and polystyrene.

We will investigate these bonfires with dark smoke. If you are making a complaint, it would be useful if you could provide photographic evidence of the dark smoke and materials being burned. We 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).

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