If you are experiencing smoke nuisance from a bonfire, you can Report It online. You can also call us on 020 8489 1335 during office hours, or 020 8489 0000 between 5pm and 2am Thursday to Sunday.
During the COVID-19 crisis we are continuing to investigate statutory nuisances that are affecting public health and are considered urgent and critical. Enforcement officers will carry out investigations where there is a situation happening now.
For information about the Alexandra Palace firework display in November visit the Alexandra Palace website (external link).
Domestic bonfires are not illegal, however the council does not encourage them as burning waste materials can cause pollution and local nuisance.
The burning of waste which emits smoke that causes a nuisance is illegal and is an offence under the Clean Air Act 1993 and action can also be taken under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Household waste should not be burned on a bonfire as many items of household waste can be recycled. If you do have to burn waste you should only burn dry grass, weeds etc.
You can contact Veolia on 020 8885 7700 to remove bulky items such as your old beds and sofas or give them to charity or voluntary groups to collect for repair and re-use. However you must ensure that anyone who collects your waste is registered as a waste carrier.
You should never burn rubber, tyres, or anything containing plastic, foam or paint including furniture or beds etc. If you do have to burn waste and your bonfire causes nuisance (smoke or ash) an abatement notice can be served on you which could result in a £100 fixed penalty notice being issued. It could also result in prosecution. The maximum fine if found guilty in a Magistrates Court is £5000.
The burning of commercial waste is not permitted; an exemption may be dry rot affected timber (or woodworm). No plastics, paint tins, cement bags, roofing felt etc should be burned.
The burning of commercial waste is illegal and an offence under the Clean Air Act 1993 and Environmental Protection Act 1990. If you do burn commercial waste and the smoke or ash causes a nuisance an abatement notice can be served on you which could result in a £400 fixed penalty notice being issued, it could also result in a prosecution. The maximum fine if found guilty in a Magistrates Court is £20,000.
All businesses are required by law to ensure their commercial waste is disposed of lawfully. This means businesses must ensure that a registered contractor removes the waste they produce to a registered disposal site. Business must also keep documentation (Transfer Notes) which describes the waste, how it was stored, the person whom it was transferred to and where the waste was disposed. Failure to comply with the requirements is an offence contrary to the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and is punishable by a fixed penalty notice or prosecution. If found guilty a Magistrate Court can impose a maximum fine of £5000.
If you are experiencing a problem of smoke nuisance from a bonfire, you can call us on 020 8489 1335 during office hours, or 020 8489 0000 after 5pm and on weekends.
- See also Firework Safety
The most common problem with barbecues is complaints from neighbours – as the smoke and smells drift into their gardens, or into their homes. Barbecue smoke can be a legal nuisance, usually if it is very regular and/ or if the smoke is very bad.
So, to avoid nuisance to your neighbours, please think about these simple tips:
- Tell your neighbours about the barbecue, and perhaps invite them
- Don't light the barbecue when neighbours have their washing out
- Don’t put your barbecue close to your neighbour’s windows or next to their open doors – if you have space where you live, put it as far from neighbours as is possible
- If you see your smoke blowing into your neighbour’s houses, then perhaps it’s not the best time to have a barbecue
- If you have regular barbecues please be extra careful. Remember, you might be forcing your neighbours to smell your food again and again
- Finally, think about noise as well as smoke and smells. It is all too easy to get loud whilst enjoying yourself and you could easily start to annoy your neighbours. We strongly advise against using stereo systems in the garden
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