Bonfire Guidelines


A bonfire can be a useful way for disposing of garden waste that cannot be composted, or perhaps you want a bonfire just for fun. Bonfires have traditionally been used to mark events such as 'Bonfire Night'.

Anyone can have a garden bonfire, however under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 they may be a nuisance and can result in prosecution for example if a bonfire stops a neighbour from enjoying their property.

If you do have a bonfire to dispose of garden waste, or on Bonfire Night, talk to your neighbours and consider THEM... they are much less likely to complain! And follow our good bonfire guidelines:

  • Only burn dry material - leave it a few days so that the smoke isn't bad
  • Never burn household rubbish, rubber tyres or anything containing plastic, foam or paint
  • Don't have a bonfire regularly every week
  • Ensure your neighbours don't have washing hung out or their windows open
  • Avoid lighting a fire in unsuitable weather conditions – smoke hangs in the air on damp, still days. If it is too windy, smoke blows into neighbours' gardens and windows and across roads - check which way the wind is blowing
  • Avoid burning when air pollution levels in your area are high or very high. You can check air quality on 0800 556677 or on the DEFRA Website
  • Keep your fire away from trees, fences and buildings
  • Check that no wildlife has entered into the waste
  • Never use oil, petrol or methylated spirits to light a fire – you could damage yourself as well as the environment
  • Never leave a fire unattended or leave it to smoulder – put it out with a hosepipe


Barbecues can also cause smoke and odour problems – especially if you use lighter fuel. Again, be considerate:-

  • Warn your neighbours, and don't light up if they have washing out
  • If it is windy make sure smoke won't blow directly into neighbouring properties
  • Keep the noise down