Smoke nuisance can be caused by a range of burning, but generally comes from bonfires. A smoke nuisance is when the burning is persistent, continuing, unreasonable and affecting a complainant within their own home.

If dark or black smoke is being emitted by a business or trade premises, please report here.

Please note that smoke from correctly maintained and used domestic stoves are highly unlikely to be considered statutory nuisances.

Submit a report

Bonfire advice

Alternatives to having a bonfire

There are other ways to dispose of your garden refuse without having to burn it, such as: 

Things to consider

If you have considered the alternatives and a bonfire is still the best practical option for disposing of your garden waste, you should ensure you have taken the following precautions:

  • warn your neighbours - bonfires can cause nuisance to your neighbours especially if it is a nice sunny day with washing out and windows open 
  • only burn dry material
  • never burn household rubbish, tyres or anything containing plastic, foam or paint
  • never use old engine oil, meths or petrol to light or encourage the fire 
  • avoid lighting a fire in unsuitable weather conditions - smoke hangs in the air on damp days and in the evening
  • avoid burning at weekends and on bank holidays when people want to enjoy their gardens 
  • never leave a fire unattended or leave it to smoulder 

The law on bonfires

Bonfires are only illegal if they cause a nuisance to others and the person responsible fails to comply with the requirements of any abatement notice served by the council. It is commonly thought that there are byelaws banning bonfires or restricting the days or times when they are allowed - this is not the case.

Burning waste from another site

It is an offence to bring waste from another site and burn it, for example tradesmen bringing waste home and burning it. Whether or not they are causing a statutory nuisance, they are committing an offence. 

Burning waste on a trade premises 

If the bonfire takes place on trade or industrial premises then there is an additional power given by the Clean Air Act 1993 where the bonfire is giving off dark or black smoke. 

Hazard to road users 

If the smoke from a bonfire poses a hazard to road users the police have powers to deal with it and you should report the incident to them.