Bonfires during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

We are asking people not to burn garden waste following an increase in the number of complaints about bonfires in South Derbyshire over the last few weeks.

The social distancing restrictions announced by the Government along with the recent sunny weather has encouraged residents to clear out their gardens. This has consequently led to an accumulation of household/garden rubbish.

Residents can continue to place their garden waste in their brown bins as usual.

Bin collections in South Derbyshire are currently being carried out as usual despite the difficulties caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Staff have been redeployed and we have brought in extra vehicles to ensure the collections are able to go ahead whilst observing social distancing.

Bonfires have a negative impact on local air quality and can have a negative effect on your health, particularly to those with respiratory illness.

Please be courteous to others and reconsider burning rubbish.

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service is asking people to reconsider having bonfires in the garden and ensure you follow this important safety advice:

  • Be considerate of your neighbours – reconsider having a bonfire in your garden.

  • If you do decide to have a bonfire, situate it away from sheds, hedges and fences, making sure nothing is overhanging.

  • Do not leave your bonfire unsupervised.

  • Don’t use accelerants such as petrol to start a fire.

  • Consider what you are burning. Smoke from plastic can be toxic.

  • Contact the Fire Control team on 01332 861800 to avoid Firefighters being called out unnecessarily.

Anyone having a fire in their garden should contact Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service on 01332 861800, so that they can make a note of the location, and also offer essential fire prevention advice to help prevent a 999 emergency.

We advise against bonfires as a means of disposing of waste at residential and trade properties because of the pollution and nuisance they can cause. We recommend using the tip and recycling centres in South Derbyshire to get rid of waste.



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.