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Domestic and commercial bonfires

Bonfires are not illegal however we do not encourage them as burning waste materials can cause pollution and local nuisance. Find out about domestic and commercial bonfires and how to report them.


Domestic bonfires

Household waste should not be burned on a bonfire as many items of household waste can be recycled.

Examples of material which cannot be burned:

  • rubber
  • tyres
  • anything containing plastic foam
  • paint including furniture or beds

If a domestic bonfire persistently causes significant nuisance from smoke or ash, an abatement notice can be served under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 section 80. Breach of an abatement notice is an offence that can result in a fine following a hearing at a Magistrates' Court. 

Report nuisance bonfires

What we can do

We will investigate reports of domestic bonfires which are causing a nuisance if:

  • a single bonfire has produced smoke for more than 24 hours continuously
  • a single bonfire is producing noxious smoke by burning plastic, rubber or other non-biodegradable materials
  • a series of bonfires are lit over a short period of time so as to cause a nuisance by their frequency

What you can do

  1. You are asked to download the statutory nuisance reporting form [103KB] and complete it to establish that there is a pattern of significant nuisance.
  2. You should then send in the diary sheet with your report so that the need for action can be assessed and an officer may contact the person responsible for the bonfires.

Commercial bonfires

Businesses are required to ensure that their commercial waste is disposed of lawfully. The burning of waste on industrial and trade premises which emits dark smoke may be an offence under the Clean Air Act 1993 and can result in a fine following a hearing at a Magistrates' Court. 

Examples of material which cannot be burned:

  • plastics
  • paint tins
  • cement bags
  • roofing felt

Such material must be removed by a registered waste carrier to a licensed disposal site. Documentation in the form of waste transfer notes must be kept which describes the waste, how it was stored, the person whom it was transferred to and where the waste was disposed.

Note: if a commercial bonfire is happening now and dark smoke is being emitted, please phone the anti social behaviour and environment team and an officer will attempt to visit the site.

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Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 04 Jun 2018 at 15:42