Information on rules surrounding bonfires and how to report nuisance bonfires.

Generally, bonfires are discouraged in the Borough as residents have access to nearby tips which allow them to discard, recycle, or compost most waste items.

Having a Bonfire

If having a bonfire in your garden is the best practical option for disposing of your waste make sure to consider:

  • The weather conditions – Avoid damp or still weather conditions which will affect the dispersal of the smoke
  • The material to be burnt – Only burn dry material; never burn household rubbish or anything containing plastic, foam, or paint; and never use accelerants to light or encourage the fire.
  • The location of the fire in respect of neighbouring premises – Ensure you warn your neighbours if you are planning to have a bonfire
  • The time the fire is lit – Avoid having a bonfire at weekends or Bank Holidays

Please note that Trade Waste (i.e. waste from a building site or shop) must never be burnt on site and constitutes an offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Nuisance Bonfires

While it is not illegal to have a bonfire, they can be a nuisance for those nearby due to the fumes and pollutants they release.

The Council can only act on complaints of bonfires if the bonfire causes a Statutory Nuisance or if the bonfire is negatively impacting on the quality of life of those nearby.

A Statutory Nuisance means that the smoke from the bonfire must affects the complainant’s premises to such an extent that they cannot use it as they normally would.

For a bonfire to meet these requirements, it needs to be a persistent problem interfering substantially with your well-being, comfort, and enjoyment of your property.

Reporting Nuisance Bonfires

  1. Approach your neighbour or the person using the bonfire to explain the problem and to see if a solution can be found.
  2. If this does not work, get in touch with the Environmental Health Team on or call 0115 917 3282. They will be able to advise as to whether the Council can take any action. It is helpful for the team for residents to keep records of dates and times of nuisance bonfires.

Environmental Health
tel: 0115 917 3485