Skip to content

There are no specific laws which prohibit bonfires or limit the times that someone can have a bonfire.

You should take precautions if you are having a bonfire:

  • Inform your neighbours.
  • Never burn rubber, synthetic material or other chemicals as these can produce toxic and damaging fumes.
  • Site the bonfire carefully, ensuring that it is as far as possible from any fences or buildings.
  • Make sure that the wind direction will not blow smoke into neighbouring premises.
  • Never light a bonfire when neighbours have washing drying.
  • Ensure the bonfire is supervised at all times and that it is properly extinguished.
  • At no time should the smoke blow across a highway (road or footpath) as this is an offence under the Highways Act.

If the smoke (or ash etc.) affects your property and stops you doing something, for example gardening or hanging out washing, then we may be able to help.

If you are a private householder, please contact Environmental Health on 01438 242908 for advice.

We may ask you to keep a record of occurrences to enable us to decide whether we should investigate further.

Alternatives to burning

There is no need to burn waste because household waste can be deposited in either your bin or your recycling containers. You can arrange a bulky item collection by calling 01438 218888. Domestic rubbish or garden waste can be taken to the Household Recycling Centre.

Legal action against bonfires

Action can be taken under The Environmental Protection Act 1990 if they cause a nuisance to others. An owner, occupier or person responsible for the nuisance can be served with a smoke abatement notice preventing further nuisance. Contravention of a notice is an offence.

Individuals can take their own legal action under section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. For this to succeed you will have to prove your case in Court and may wish to instruct a Solicitor.

If the smoke from a bonfire is blowing across a highway, the Police can take action under the Highways Act.

The Clean Air Act 1993 make emissions of dark or black smoke from the burning of trade waste an offence for which we can take legal proceedings.

Environmental Health and Licensing

Daneshill House
Danestrete
Stevenage
Herts
SG1 1HN

env.health@stevenage.gov.uk

01438 242908 / 242916

© 2020 Stevenage Borough Council