We strongly urge people not to light bonfires at this time so as to protect the respiratory health of vulnerable people and to avoid unnecessary burden on the NHS. COVID-19 is a respiratory disease and smoke inhalation can increase breathing difficulties for those that are already unwell.
Also, due to restrictions currently in place during the pandemic there are greater numbers of people staying at home . Therefore smoke from a bonfire can cause unnecessary nuisance to your neighbours. We appreciate the inconvenience caused by the closure of Household Waste Recycling Centres, but having a bonfire is not an acceptable way of dealing with excess waste. We are asking you to use your general waste bin if possible. Alternatively stack or bag up rubbish ready for disposal at these centres when the current emergency is over. Please continue to dispose of your household, recyclable and green waste correctly in the receptacles provided.
Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA), a statutory nuisance includes "smoke, fumes or gases emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance" and exists when a bonfire is a regularly recurring problem and interferes substantially with nearby residents' "wellbeing, comfort or enjoyment of their property". If a bonfire is emitting dark or black smoke, it is dealt with under the Clean Air Act 1993 - this includes the burning of such material in your garden. Under the Act, it is illegal to dispose of waste that is not from your property on your property - for example from a workplace or neighbour - and small tradesmen must not burn waste from site at home.
If you are being affected by smoke from a bonfire, please use the contact details below to report the problem.
Please note: one-off bonfires are unlikely to constitute a nuisance.
Burning commercial or trade waste is illegal. Your may register for an exemption through the Environment Agency. You can be fined up to £20,000 under the Clean Air Act if you burn trade or commercial waste and it releases dark smoke. Complaints regarding the burning of trade waste should be directed to the Environment Agency:
The Environment Agency has also produced guidance regarding waste management.