Although most household waste can be recycled via the Council’s waste collection bonfires are occasionally the best practicable way to dispose of dry garden waste or other rubbish that cannot be composted. Bonfires are also traditionally used to mark traditional celebrations such as Guy Fawkes on the 5th of November.
Neighbours can easily be annoyed if the smoke from a bonfire stops them enjoying their gardens, hanging out their washing or opening windows and there is often the misconception of when and where a garden bonfire can be lit.
There are no byelaws in place which prohibits garden bonfires or specifying the time of day, or day of the week that a bonfire can be lit, however this is not to say that you can have a bonfire whenever you like. There are laws that protect people from being affected by the smoke that is caused by bonfires.
If a bonfire is being lit regularly, which causes a lot of smoke and ash, or the material being burnt is hazardous to health, then action could be taken under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 as a statutory nuisance. If a bonfire is only lit occasionally then it shouldn’t cause a problem!
Dark smoke from commercial premises
Industrial or trade waste should be removed to a properly licensed waste disposal site. Under the Clean Air Act 1993 it is an offence to cause dark smoke to be emitted from any industrial or trade premises. See the “Dark smoke” page for further information.
What to do if you are being bothered by smoke
If smoke is a persistent problem and although you might feel awkward, you should first approach your neighbour and explain the problem and how it affects you. They may not be aware that they are causing a nuisance.
Remember that bonfires can be fire hazards as fire can spread to buildings, fences, trees and plants. Sealed cans or bottles may explode. If you have any concerns please contact the North Wales Fire and Rescue service on 101 or see the link to their website.
If you are unable to resolve issues with neighbours, persistent problems can be reported to the Environmental Health Section by completing the online report form
Report bonfire issues