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In South Holland there are currently no smoke free zones, byelaws or restrictions on having a bonfire at a domestic residence. However, you must ensure that your fire does not cause a nuisance to nearby roads and houses.

Domestic bonfires

South Holland District Council receives many complaints every year about bonfires. Smoke and odour from bonfires can stop people enjoying their homes and gardens and even affect people's health. If not conducted responsibly smoke from bonfires can cause a statutory nuisance which could result in court action and fines.

There are other ways of getting rid of waste without burning:

  • compost garden and kitchen waste
  • domestic waste can be taken to various Council refuse sites
  • recycle your waste
  • large household items can be collected by the Council
  • garden waste can be collected by the Council.

To avoid complaints and possible legal action if you must have a bonfire:

  • site your bonfire away from fences, hedges or buildings
  • only burn dry material
  • never burn rubber, plastic or paint. Don't be tempted to use petrol or other inflammable liquids to start a bonfire
  • inform neighbours that you are planning to have a bonfire
  • take account of wind direction to prevent smoke blowing into neighbours gardens or across roads
  • avoid burning during periods when neighbours may be spending time in their gardens
  • supervise the bonfire at all times and contact the Fire and Rescue Service if there is a risk to the safety of people or buildings.

For further details on collecting or recycling waste contact our Waste Services Team on 01775 761161.

Complain about a bonfire

If you wish to make a complaint:

  • you will need to establish where the bonfire is, without this information we will be unable to investigate
  • once you have this information, email your complaint to us
  • we will ask you to keep a record of the bonfires and how they affect you
  • the person having the bonfires will be contacted and informed a complaint has been made against them.

Your complaint is dealt with in complete confidence, but it may be obvious to the person who has made a complaint against them. If the case results in Court action your identity may have to be disclosed.

We may ask you to keep  records (PDF) [15KB] (opens new window)  for up to one month, depending on the information you send us we may also need to monitor the situation ourselves.

Commercial smoke or burning

It is an offence for factories and trade premises to emit dark smoke from their chimneys under the Clean Air Act 1993 except in unavoidable circumstances such as on lighting up.

Dark smoke emissions from open burning (bonfires) on industrial or trade premises (including demolition sites) or agricultural land is also prohibited, except in very limited circumstances. Dark smoke is a specific shade of grey defined by law, resulting from commercial burning or some industrial processes.

It is an offence under the Clean Air Act for a business to create dark smoke and this should be reported to the Environmental Protection Team as soon as possible. However this can also be reported to the Environment Agency on their incident hotline 0800 807060 - they have out of hours cover and legal controls over inappropriate waste disposal.

Dark smoke legislation does not apply to domestic properties. Where dark smoke arises from a domestic property it can only be investigated as a statutory nuisance.

Trade waste

The burning on a business site or transportation of trade waste to domestic premises for burning should be reported to the Environment Agency. Transporting of waste without a waste carriers licence and burning without a permit are offences. This also applies to farmers (with certain exceptions) and construction sites.