Advice on having a safe bonfire, avoiding it being a smoke nuisance and installing a wood burning stove.

We would prefer you to look at alternatives to burning, but the law says you can light an occasional bonfire to get rid of dry waste from your own garden. 

It should not cause a nuisance to your neighbours. 

Having a bonfire regularly or a large bonfire may cause a nuisance. 

Bonfire dos and don'ts 

If you decide to light a bonfire:

  • Don't leave the fire unattended
  • Don't burn damp or freshly cut garden waste, as this produces thick 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
  • Don't burn any man-made materials, such as plastics or rubber, as this may create heavy, toxic smoke
  • Don't burn trade or building waste - businesses are responsible for getting rid of their waste safely and legally, you can see more information on the GOV.UK website
  • Do leave the bonfire until weather conditions are right - for example, when the wind is blowing away from neighbouring properties
  • Do tell your neighbours before you light a bonfire
  • Do choose the site of your bonfire carefully - away from trees, fences and nearby homes
  • Do burn in small quantities, quickly, to reduce the amount of smoke

Alternatives to bonfires

You can sign up for our garden waste recycling service or try composting in your garden. 

You can get rid of old household items at Hampshire County Council's household waste recycling centres or make an appointment with our bulky waste collection service.

Installing a wood burning stove

Rushmoor is not a designated smoke control area but if you have an open fire or log burning stove, you must make sure you are using appropriate fuel, to reduce pollution and prevent a nuisance to neighbours. 

If you are using firewood, it needs to be less that 20% moisture. Green or freshly felled wood is not suitable to burn, neither is any wood that has been painted or preserved. 

Further information about suitable wood can be found on the Defra air quality website.

If you are planning to install a wood burning stove in your home, you need to make sure that the work complies with building regulations. Please contact our Building Control team using the details below, before starting work.

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