Bonfires may seem like a traditional and effective way of getting rid of rubbish, especially garden waste, but they can be problematic to neighbouring properties due to the ash and smoke produced.
Our experience has found that bonfires trigger an emotive response that can cause conflicts between local residents.
The nature of the material being burned may also mean that the person responsible for burning is committing an offence, which they could be prosecuted for.
What does the law allow
Burning garden waste
There are no bylaws in Bromley restricting the lighting of garden bonfires but if a bonfire is causing a statutory nuisance we can take action under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Ultimately this could lead to prosecution if formal enforcement action is ignored.
In addition, green waste can only be burned on the property it originated from. Burning green waste brought from another site is an offence and could result in prosecution.
Burning other waste
Anything other than green garden waste is considered controlled waste and is an offence to burn. This includes:
- General household, industrial and commercial waste
- Any treated wood, including fence panels, old sheds, wooden pallets and timbers
A person found to be burning waste of this nature could be liable to an unlimited fine following successful prosecution.
What we can do
Upon receipt of a complaint regarding bonfires, we will write to the subject property in order to advise them of the allegations made. The complainant will be sent log sheets in order to document the frequency and nature of the bonfires.
Should the log sheets justify further investigation, the allocated officer may attend to witness the bonfires at the time they are occurring. Along with this, and the information provided on the log sheets, the officer will make an assessment of statutory nuisance.
If satisfied of the existence of a statutory nuisance, the officer will serve an Abatement Notice, requiring that the nuisance is abated and not repeated.
Report a garden bonfire
- by telephone
When you contact us we will need the address of the property where the bonfire is situated, as we cannot proceed without this information.