It is not against the law to have bonfires to dispose of 'green' garden waste from your property. 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.
There are alternatives to having a bonfire, including:
- Composting garden waste
- Making full use of your waste and recycling bins
- Applying for a garden waste bin
- Taking excess waste to Kent County Council Household Waste Recycling Centre at Brunswick Road, TN23 1EL
- Having bulky items collected by the council
If there is no other alternative
You must not burn general household waste, but may burn garden waste from your own garden if this is done without causing a nuisance to others.
If there is no alternative to having a bonfire, you must:
- Ensure that smoke does not cause a nuisance to neighbours.
- Ensure that the smoke does not affect highway safety
and you should:
- Avoid burning in hot weather – when neighbours are more likely to need windows open
- Notify neighbours that you will be having a fire
- Ensure that the fire burns quickly, rather than be left to smoulder
- Ensure that green waste has completely dried out prior to burning
- Ensure that the fire is not left unattended, and have a means to extinguish a fire if necessary
- Ensure that the wind direction will take any smoke away from neighbouring properties
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, except for the burning of 'green' landscaping waste cut down at that property.
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.