Report a bonfire or smoke nuisance

Tall orange flames of a bonfire against dark blue night sky and silhouttes of trees

Residential bonfires

There are no laws against having a bonfire at home, but there are laws for the nuisance they can cause. A bonfire must happen frequently to be considered a nuisance.

If you’re bothered by smoke from a neighbour’s bonfire, try speaking to them in the first instance as they may be unaware that they’re causing a nuisance. If this doesn’t help, we can issue an ‘abatement notice’ if a neighbour’s bonfire is causing a nuisance.

Burning domestic waste

Burning domestic waste is an offence if it will cause pollution or harm people’s health. You can get rid of household or garden waste by recycling or composting. The council provides a range of waste and recycling services.

Burning trade waste

It’s against the law to burn any trade waste without an environmental permit or exemption from the Environment Agency. All producers of trade waste must comply with their ‘duty of care’ for their waste, which means it must be disposed of appropriately. The best way to do this is to use a licensed trade-waste contractor.

Report a nuisance bonfire or burning of trade waste

Before you make your report, please make sure you have the following pieces of information to hand:

  • Details of how often and when you believe the burning is occurring – for example, every few days, mainly in the early afternoon
  • The type of bonfire: residential, commercial or trade waste
  • The date and time of the incident
  • Details of the location
  • Any digital photos or videos you have as evidence

Please note all details received will be treated in the strictest of confidence and not disclosed to the target of your complaint. We may need to contact you for more information.

What happens next?

  • Residential/domestic burning - we will write to the property in question and request they take steps to reduce the nuisance. You will also be sent a log sheet to write down any further occurance for up to two weeks. After your completed log sheet has been returned, an environmental health officer will investigate the matter
  • Commercial/trade waste - a community protection officer will investigate your report. We'll check that the business is complying with their ‘duty of care’ or if they have a D7 exemption from the Environment Agency. Failure to produce a copy of these documents may result in a fixed penalty notice of £300 or prosecution