Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, we have the power to serve Abatement
Notices on persons who allow odour, dust or smoke from bonfires and chimneys to
cause a statutory nuisance.
To constitute a statutory nuisance, smoke, odour or
dust would need to drift across someone's home on a regular basis. When considering
a statutory nuisance, we need to establish how often the alleged nuisance occurs,
ie once a week or once a year, and how long the alleged nuisance occurs for, whether
it lasts a few minutes or several hours.
If we have evidence that the smoke, odour or dust is a statutory nuisance then
an Abatement Notice will be served on the person causing the nuisance. If the statutory
nuisance continues, then the alleged offender can be prosecuted and may be fined
up to £5,000 upon conviction for a domestic dwelling and up to £20,000 for commercial
How to prevent bonfire smoke nuisance
- Let your nearest neighbours know before you light your bonfire.
- Burn material in small amounts.
- Consider using an incinerator rather than an open bonfire.
- Choose the location of your bonfire carefully and have a spade, fork or hose pipe
ready in case you need to extinguish the bonfire quickly.
- Be aware that other residents may also have regular bonfires. Although you may only
have one a month, if each resident did this, it could result in a bonfire every
day, which could be unreasonable. Therefore it's important to communicate with your
- Use alternative methods; recycle items, use the local household waste
- Consider shredding instead of burning as a suitable safeguard against identity fraud.
- Only have a bonfire as a last resort; reuse, recycle, and then dispose of.
- Do not burn damp grass cuttings or other damp garden waste as this will produce
- Do not burn oily rags, rubber, plastics, foam, car tyres etc as these will give
rise to black toxic smoke.
- Do not light a bonfire when neighbours have hung out their washing or are enjoying
their gardens. Be considerate.
- Do not light a bonfire if the wind is blowing in the direction of your nearest neighbour.
Only light a bonfire if the wind is blowing away from your neighbours.
- Do not leave a bonfire unattended. Never leave a bonfire once it is alight.
- Do not start a bonfire one hour before dusk.
- Do not allow your bonfire to smoulder for long periods of time, especially overnight.
Ensure that you rake over the ashes to ensure the bonfire is extinguished.
What you can do
Or contact us using the details below:
When making your complaint you must include:
- Your name, address and if possible a contact telephone number
- The address complained of and the type of nuisance
- When and for how long the problem normally occurs and
- The way the nuisance affects you.
What we will do
Your complaint will be looked at and we'll let you know how we will deal with it.
remember that your complaint will not be resolved overnight, investigations can
take several weeks.
Please note: Your name and address will NOT be disclosed to the person complained
of, however, occasionally the person may guess who has complained or may approach
you to ask if you have made a complaint. Also if we decide to take legal action,
you may be asked to appear in Court as a witness.