Bonfire - advice and the law


Bonfires are the subject of many complaints to councils. Smoke can prevent your neighbours enjoying their garden, opening windows or hanging washing out and reduces visibility in the neighbourhood and on roads. Allotments near homes can cause particular problems, if plot holders persistently burn waste.

Guidelines for safe bonfires

  • Only burn dry material
  • Never burn household rubbish, rubber tyres or anything containing plastic, foam or paint
  • Never use old engine oil, meths or petrol to light the fire or encourage it
  • Avoid lighting a fire in unsuitable weather conditions - smoke hangs in the air on damp, still days and in the evening. If it is windy, smoke may be blown into neighbours' gardens and across roads
  • Avoid burning at weekends and on bank holidays when people want to enjoy their gardens
  • Avoid burning when air pollution in your area is high or very high. This information is included in weather forecasts; alternatively you can check by ringing 0800 556677
  • Never leave a fire unattended or leave it to smoulder; douse it with water if necessary

Better still, avoid having bonfires by using a compost bin for garden waste or use the council's Green Waste Scheme (brown bins) to take away garden waste. More information about garden waste


If you have an allotment, you may need to check with the relevant parish council or the land owner.


Barbecues can also cause a smoke nuisance, especially if you use lighter fuel. Please be considerate. If you are having a barbecue tell your neighbours; check with them - they may wish to close their windows or bring their washing in.

 Last updated: ‎03‎/‎01‎/‎2018‎ ‎16‎:‎45‎