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Bonfire and smoke

Information about burning household waste, and how to report a smoke nuisance

Before we take action

We can investigate complaints of statutory nuisance coming from domestic or commercial/industrial sources.

Before we can take action, we have to be sure that the nuisance constitutes a statutory nuisance. This means that we have to prove that the bonfire or smoke is causing an unreasonable and persistent disturbance to your lifestyle, or is harmful to your health.

More information on how statutory nuisances are investigated can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Any action we take will be in line with our corporate enforcement policy.

Burning household waste

We don't recommend that you burn any waste, however if you do wish to have a bonfire, please follow these simple rules:

  • only burn garden waste (tyres, cables plastics, rubber, painted products or household waste must not be burnt)
  • use dry materials only
  • avoid burning at weekends and bank holidays
  • let your neighbours know that you're going to have a bonfire
  • don't leave the fire unattended, even when it's just smouldering

You can find out more about Garden bonfires: the rules at GOV.UK.

Disposal of household waste

There are other ways to dispose of household waste, instead of burning. Large or bulky items can be collected by us for a fee. You can compost your garden waste, or sign up for a garden waste collection from us.

If you're clearing a property always use a registered waste carrier.

Burning commercial or industrial waste

In general, businesses can't burn any waste. There are certain exemptions to this. However, you should report any incidents of business burning waste to us so we can investigate.

Report a smoke nuisance

Before you make a report, you should think about talking to the person responsible for the bonfire that is affecting you. Sometimes the person may not realise that they're causing a problem. The GOV.UK website has advice on how you can resolve neighbour disputes.

If this does not work, it's useful to have supporting evidence when you make your complaint. This will include information on how often the smoke nuisance occurs and the impact it's having on you.

You can report a smoke nuisance using our online report form. You can now track the progress of your report through registering for our My Account service.

Registering for an account is easy and will allow you to securely access our services 24/7.

To report a smoke nuisance you'll need:

  • the address of the perpetrator
  • the type of things which are being burnt, and how often

Report a smoke nuisance

Please note; we won't be able to investigate anonymous complaints.

How long will it take?

Nuisance investigations are often quite complex and the process can be lengthy. However, we'll contact you initially to discuss the issue. We aim to contact you within five days of receiving your complaint.