It is not against the law to have bonfires to dispose of 'green' garden waste. However, care must be taken to make sure that the bonfire does not cause a nuisance to your neighbours.

If the bonfire causes a problem then this may mean you are causing a statutory nuisance. Where people use common sense, bonfires are not usually a problem.

We do not recommend burning waste; recycling is a more preferable way of disposal. Alternatively, waste can be disposed of by your weekly refuse collection, by our bulky waste collection service or at your local recycling centre.

If there is no other alternative

The number of bonfires should be kept to a minimum and follow the bonfire code of practice [pdf] 299KB.

This code of practice is recommended to anyone thinking about having a bonfire. The code of practice for garden bonfires does not exclude any person from their legal liabilities under section 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Anyone lighting a bonfire should ensure that no nuisance is caused to neighbours by smoke, burning particles or odour and that the bonfire is sited so that it reduces the likelihood of nuisance.

Burning of commercial waste

In addition to the law of nuisance, it is an offence to burn commercial waste (including construction and demolition waste), and to produce dark smoke from industrial or trade premises. No bonfires should be lit on commercial premises.

  • Action can be taken under the Clean Air Act 1993 for dark smoke
  • Penalty can be an unlimited fine
  • Incidents of industrial waste burning are reported to the Environment Agency who may prosecute under their legislation

Your responsibility

All householders are responsible for ensuring their waste is disposed of under the Duty of Care Regulations and passed to authorised carriers only.

Householders should check that waste carriers (other than the council), who remove household, garden and building waste have an Environment Agency waste carrier number. If they are not registered do not use the service. If they claim to be registered, call the Environment Agency on 08708 506506 and request an instant 'waste carrier validation check' or check the Environment Agency website

If fly-tipped rubbish can be traced back to the household where it originated the householder rather than the waste carrier could be fined an unlimited amount.

ABC report it stamp logoIf the burning of waste is an issue, report it to us