Bonfire Smoke

Garden Bonfires

Generally speaking, garden bonfires should be avoided where possible as a means of disposing of garden waste due primarily to the annoyance that can be caused to others in the area. Substantial exposure to smoke can also be harmful and may cause particular problems for asthmatics, bronchitis sufferers, people with heart conditions and children.

Nuisances arising from bonfire smoke

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, smoke from bonfires is a category of nuisance problem that can be dealt with by the Council. Such problems are dealt with by the Council in a similar manner to other nuisance problems. Please see Nuisance Problems for details on the law of nuisances, how to make a complaint about bonfire smoke, and how we handle such complaints.

What are the alternatives to having a bonfire?

Alternative options available for the disposal of garden waste in this area are:

  • Garden Waste Collection Service - Test Valley Borough Council operates a garden waste collection service. For further details and charges, please contact 01264 368000 or view relevant page in the related content section at the foot of this page.
  • Household Waste Recycling Centres - Garden waste can be taken to any of the household waste recycling centres in the area - click here for relevant web page.
  • Home Composting - For information on composting and how to order a composting bin, please visit the `Recycle Now' website at or call 0845 076 0223.

How do I avoid causing annoyance to my neighbours?

The chances of causing annoyance to neighbours will be minimised if the following guidelines are followed:

  • Keep the frequency of bonfires to a minimum
  • Only burn dry material as this produces far less smoke than burning damp material
  • Avoid lighting a bonfire in unsuitable weather conditions - smoke tends to hang in the air on damp still days. If it is too windy, smoke may be blown into neighbour's gardens and across roads.
  • Do not burn household rubbish, rubber tyres, or anything containing plastic, foam or paint.
  • Ensure that bonfires are sensitively positioned and are properly supervised in order that they can be put out if they start to cause a significant problem, for example if the wind direction changes causing dense smoke to drift across neighbouring gardens. 

Further information and advice

Please contact:

The Environment Protection Team
Telephone: 01264 368000