Smoke pollution

Bonfire guidelines

Important notice : COVID-19

With the current Coronavirus pandemic many people are in their homes and cannot escape the smell of smoke if a neighbour chooses to have a bonfire. People must consider the health of others during these unique times. Coronavirus is a respiratory disease and people’s breathing could be worsened due to smoke inhalation.

We appreciate that the waste recycling facilities are closed so we would strongly urge that appropriate garden waste is either composted where able/practical or disposed of using the brown bins provided. Any surplus waste is then stored for either the next brown bin collection or for when the waste recycling centres are back open.

Whilst there are no smoke control areas in this district and there are no laws against having occasional bonfires we are asking if people could also support their neighbours by not lighting bonfires while the pandemic continues. Smoke can pose a risk to people’s health, so avoiding fires will reduce the chance of people having their airways affected and avoid further burden on the NHS.


We have powers to deal with smoke nuisance from any bonfire and for dark smoke offences on commercial and industrial premises.

There are no smoke control areas in this district and there are no laws against having bonfires. However it is an offence for the smoke, or the smell of the smoke, to cause a nuisance. Smoke from garden bonfires in a residential area can seriously affect the residential amenity and enjoyment of other premises.

For a bonfire to be a legal nuisance we would consider the following:

  • How much smoke is being created and does it affect nearby properties?
  • What is being burnt? - the type of material being burned affects how much smoke is being produced/ how noxious the fumes from the smoke are
  • How often do the bonfires occur? A single bonfire is unlikely to be a nuisance even though it may cause annoyance to one or more neighbours.

We ask that residents compost or recycle the material, however if there is no alternative to having a bonfire then the burning should be carried out when the weather conditions are suitable.