Garden bonfires

There are no specific rules or bye-laws relating to garden bonfires, but if a bonfire affects another property through smoke, debris, ash or fumes, it could be a statutory nuisance.

Smoke from a bonfire contains numerous pollutants that can have a damaging effect on health. Smoke can also affect washing, come into houses, stop people enjoying their garden on a nice day and reduce visibility on roads. There is also a potential danger of the fire spreading to other areas.

If you cause a smoke nuisance we can take enforcement action against you. This could lead to a fine of up to £5,000 and a criminal record if convicted

Industrial or trade premises

In addition to the rules for statutory nuisance, it is illegal for industrial or trade premises to burn waste at a commercial site as a method of disposal. Producers must ensure they are giving waste to someone authorised to take and dispose of it to meet their Duty of Care.

Under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010, anyone wishing to dispose of trade waste needs to apply to the Environment Agency for either an environmental permit or for a permit exemption. Any business disposing of waste without a permit or exemption could be committing an offence. This includes disposal of trade waste by burning it in the open.

The Clean Air Act 1993 prohibits dark or black smoke being emitted from a bonfire on trade or industrial premises.

Failure to comply with the provisions of the Clean Air Act 1993 can result, on conviction, of a penalty up to a maximum of £20,000

Further information

For further information on bonfires or any of the other topics covered above, contact us.