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Bonfires may sometimes be used to dispose of rubbish but they can be a cause of air pollution and local nuisance, and as such are not an environmentally-friendly or recommended method of rubbish disposal.

Bonfires can be very irritating to neighbours if the smoke prevents the enjoyment of their gardens, ability to have windows open or hang out washing. It is therefore strongly recommended that household waste is not burnt on a bonfire but is recycled through your council’s recycled waste collection schemes.

Burning garden waste can produce a dense smoke, offensive odour and ash deposits. Smoke from garden bonfires will contain toxic chemicals including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and particulate matter. Burning materials including plastic and painted wood will release these and other toxic compounds such as dioxins and furans, which are cancer-forming agents. These emissions will be released into the air at a low level, there by causing maximum disturbance and potentially adverse health effects to neighbours.

Local weather conditions will affect the impact of the smoke, odour and ash and the effect it has on your neighbours. Still conditions will prevent the smoke from dispersing, while windy conditions will blow smoke into neighbouring properties and across roads causing annoyance and possibly danger.

In addition, bonfires can be a fire hazard; fire can spread to fences or buildings and scorch trees and plants. Sealed cans or bottles in a fire may explode.

Environmental Health

Stevenage Borough Council
Daneshill House

01438 242908 / 242916