The law on domestic bonfires in England and Wales is very simple: there isn’t one but there is a law against any subsequent nuisance.
You cannot get rid of household waste if it will cause pollution or harm people’s health and this includes burning it. However, the legal principle is that any nuisance must usually happen on a regular basis to be considered. South Norfolk Council can issue an ‘abatement notice’ if a neighbour’s bonfire is deemed to be causing a nuisance. A bonfire must happen frequently to be considered a nuisance and a fine of up to £5,000 can be applied if the abatement notice is broken.
So, the occasional bonfire should be fine as long as there are no local bylaws in place that prevent it (none presently in this area) and you abide by the following:
You must make sure that the smoke from your bonfire doesn’t blow across a road and so cause danger to the traffic on it, and you don’t burn anything that could cause pollution or harm to public health. That rules out the burning of plastic, rubber, old engine oil, and anything else that might produce poisonous fumes. Burning stuff like this won’t just harm your health and that of anyone else around you, it is also likely to be a criminal offence. Also take care when burning wet or damp autumn leafs.
Tell your neighbours what you’re planning, if for no other reason than it gives them time to get their washing in and close their windows.
Wait until the wind lies in the right direction to carry the smoke away from neighbours.
Leave starting a fire until later in the day, once garden activities such as washing out on a line, children playing or a family BBQ have resided.
Please consider building a freehand bonfire only when you have a lot of big stuff to burn and a safe site to burn it.
Finally, a quick word on the use of metal incinerators. Garden incinerators provide a way for you to burn up garden waste in a way that’s safe, inexpensive and effective. A converted 50 gallon drum works fine and these are readily available. Air holes at the bottom and stood on a patio slab or bricks (to create an air gap to the soil), it makes it easier to keep a fire under control.
A regular request from new residents to our community when settling into village life is “who are the local window cleaners?”. Well, below is a list of those known to operate in our area but if you know of others, please tell us:
- Green2Clean – 01953 788170 or 07787 415280
- Mark Stone – 01508 471051 or 07514 485188
- Diamond Shine – 07542 282964
As with all businesses mentioned on this website, we do not endorse the individual activities of those mentioned.