A single bonfire is not classed as a nuisance even if it is annoying for neighbours. To be a nuisance, we need details about:

  • How often the bonfires are held.
  • How long they last.
  • Where they are.
  • How it affects your use and enjoyment of your land.

To report a bonfire nuisance please use the Environmental Health complaint form. You need to keep a diary of serious smoke incidents for two weeks, using the record of bonfire incidents .

There is no law against having bonfires and there are no set times restricting when they can be lit, though it is an offence for the smoke to cause a statutory nuisance. Smoke from garden bonfires in a residential area can seriously affect the enjoyment of being outdoors for other people. It can also contribute to local air pollution levels and in some locations, reduce visibility on nearby roads.

If materials are dry and burn quickly they create little smoke, as long as the smoke does not blow directly towards occupied premises. Damp vegetation does not burn well as it produces large volumes of smoke and smoulders for long periods of time. The burning of this type of waste causes most complaints and so it should be disposed of in other ways.

Ideally garden waste should be:

Coal and wood fires

It is an offence to cause or permit the emission of dark smoke from industrial or trade premises

The control of chimney heights enables councils to take into account a number of relevant factors in determining the height of a chimney. Unless the height of the chimney has been approved by the council and any conditions attached to approval adhered to, it is an offence to cause to cause or knowingly permit a furnace to be used to:

  • Burn pulverised fuel.
  • Burn at a rate of 45.4 kg or more an hour any other solid matter.
  • Burn at a rate equivalent to 366.4 kW or more any liquid or gaseous matter.

An application for chimney height approval must contain adequate information to enable the necessary calculations to be carried out.

We must consider an application for approval for chimney height for a furnace and give a written decision within 28 days, unless it is agreed in writing between us and the applicant more time is needed. If we don’t deal with the application within this time, approval is automatically given.

Open fires and wood burning stoves