Search site

Nuisance from Bonfires

Smoke, Fumes, Gases, Dust, Steam, Smell and Accumulations

Environmental Health (Environmental Protection), Appletree Court, Lyndhurst, Hampshire, SO43 7PA. Tel - 023 8028 5411, Email -


Typical of complaints of this type are smoke and ash from garden bonfires, smoking chimneys, dust from building and demolition activity and cooking smells from restaurants.

If you are subjected to any of the above; then, to maintain good neighbour relations, you may wish to discuss the matter with your neighbour(s) or the manager etc. of the neighbouring premises if it is a business, as they may not be aware that there is a problem. Often this resolves the majority of complaints. Should this not be effective, we can formally investigate your complaint and also offer individual advice.

When making a complaint, we require the following information:-

  • Your name, address, telephone number and email address (The Council does not investigate anonymous complaints)
  • The address of the alleged source of the bonfire;
  • Detailed information of the complaint - how, when and where it affects you.

As part of the investigation, we will require the completion of a diary sheet, which will be sent to you.

If we are satisfied of the existence of a Statutory Nuisance and we are not able to resolve the matter informally, an Abatement Notice will be served upon the person responsible, owner or occupier of the premises (as appropriate) requiring that the nuisance be abated.

Failure to comply with an Abatement Notice is an offence and legal proceedings may result. If found guilty of an offence of this type then there is an unlimited fine.

You may be required to give evidence in the Magistrates' Court.

If you have a complaint, then please contact us on the details shown above.

When can I have a bonfire?

There are no restrictions on when you can or cannot have a bonfire or use barbecue; however, you shouldn't cause a smoke nuisance to anyone. In warm weather, windows may be left open and people may be enjoying their gardens well into the evening period. You should respect the reasonable wishes of your neighbours at all times.

What are the alternatives to having a bonfire?

You can reduce the risk of upsetting or causing concerns to your neighbour by following the advice below. It is not possible for this list to cover every eventuality and it is for guidance only.

  • Do compost as much garden waste as possible
  • Do take the remainder of garden waste to a public waste disposal site.
  • Do put it out with you domestic refuse for collection in the Council's green garden refuse sacks (these are available for purchase from the Council's Customer Services on 023 8028 5000)

If I have a bonfire, how can I reduce the effects?


  • Have as few bonfires as possible;
  • Try to tell your neighbours when you intend to light it;
  • Build it as far away from neighbouring properties as possible;
  • Keep bonfires away from fences, hedges or other combustible materials, which might catch fire accidentally;
  • Have plenty of water ready;
  • Attend the fire at all times; and
  • Continually monitor whether the fire might cause annoyance and extinguish it if necessary.

Do Not:

  • Light a bonfire if a neighbour is using or is likely to use the garden;
  • Light a bonfire if there is washing on a neighbour's line;
  • Light a bonfire if the weather is wet, windy or misty;
  • Burn any green cuttings or wet material;
  • Leave a fire smoldering;
  • Burn household waste, plastics, rubber or any other material, which would cause dark smoke or harmful combustion products; and
  • Allow smoke to blow across a road.

There is more information for builders on our Construction Works - Noise, Dust and Smoke page

Where are the nearest Household Waste Sites?

Efford Household Waste Recycling Centre

Milford Road, Pennington, Lymington, SO41 8EZ.  Tel: 01590 671874

Open 7 days per week: (except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years day)

09:00 to 18:00 - 01 April to 30 September

09:00 to 16:00 - 01 October to 28 February

09:00 to 16:30 - 01 March to 31 March

Marchwood Household Waste Recycling Centre

Normandy Way, Marchwood, SO40 4UD.  Tel: 02380 865178

Open 7 days per week: (except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years day)

09:00 to 18:00 - 01 April to 30 September

09:00 to 16:00 - 01 October to 28 February

09:00 to 17:00 - 01 March to 31 March

Somerley Household Waste Recycling Centre

Verwood Road, Ringwood Forest, Somerley, BH24 3QE. Tel: 01202 828083

Open 7 days per week: (except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years day)

09:00 to 18:00 - 01 April to 30 September

09:00 to 16:00 - 01 October to 28 February

09:00 to 17:00 - 01 March to 31 March


Please contact us on the details shown at the top of the page, should you wish to discuss any of the above matters.

Other useful links


Construction Works - Noise, Dust and Smoke

Smokeless Zones


Updated: 3 Aug 2018
Powered by GOSS iCM