Bonfires and smoke pollution

Advice on bonfires and how to avoid smoke pollution.

Bonfires Coronavirus - avoiding bonfires

We urge you not to have a bonfire during the coronavirus outbreak. Not only can it be a nuisance, but also if your neighbours suffer from respiratory problems, the smoke from a bonfire will make the problems worse.

Instead, you can sign up for our garden waste recycling service  or you can try composting in your garden.

You should also not burn domestic, trade or building waste.

If you use a contractor to dispose of your waste, please make sure you comply with your waste duty of care and check they are a registered waste carrier - you can do this on the fly-tipping page on Hampshire County Council's website - and ask for a copy of the waste transfer note.

Fly-tipping is also an offence and ruins the area for everyone. If you are caught, you could face a heavy fine. See our fly-tipping page for more details.

Bonfires and the law

The law says you can light a bonfire at any time, as long as it doesn't cause a nuisance.

Having a bonfire every day or a large bonfire may cause a nuisance.

Bonfires and pollution

Burning garden waste creates smoke containing air pollutants and particles.

Burning man-made materials can be smelly and could release all sorts of poisonous chemicals into the air.

Bonfire dos and don'ts

  • Don't leave a fire unattended
  • Don't burn damp garden waste, as this produces thick smoke
  • Don't burn any man-made material waste, such as plastics or rubber, as this may create heavy, toxic smoke
  • Don't light a bonfire when your neighbours have windows open, washing out or are spending time in their garden
  • Don't use old engine oil, methylated spirits or petrol to light the fire or encourage it
  • Do leave your bonfire until weather conditions are right. For example when the wind is blowing away from neighbouring properties
  • Do tell your neighbours before you light it
  • Do choose the site for your bonfire carefully - away from trees, fences and, if possible, nearby homes
  • Do burn in small quantities, quickly, to reduce the amount of smoke

Report a bonfire problem

If you have a problem that you cannot sort out for yourself, please contact us using the contact details on this page.

We will look into it for you and take action if we can. If we cannot take action, you may be able to take legal action yourself. We can give you advice on this.

If you have a problem with anyone lighting a fire and allowing the smoke to drift across the road, please contact the police on 101.

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