Bonfire smoke is a common cause of complaint that Environmental Health and Housing investigates each year. Repeated bonfires can cause annoyance and upset local residents and in certain circumstances may cause a Statutory Smoke Nuisance.
This information page explains the law surrounding bonfires and gives some advice on how to prevent causing a Smoke Nuisance.
Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 the Borough Council has the power to serve Abatement Notices on persons who allow the smoke from their bonfires to cause a Smoke Nuisance. To constitute a Smoke Nuisance bonfire smoke would need to drift across someone’s home on a regular basis. When cosidering Smoke Nuisance, the council needs to consider how often the smoke occurs, i.e. once a week or once a year and how long the smoke occurs for, whether it lasts a few minutes or several hours.
If the Council decided that the smoke is a Smoke Nuisance then an Abatement Notice will be served on the person causing the Smoke Nuisance. If the Smoke Nuisance continues, then the Council can prosecute the alleged offender, who may be fined up to £5,000 upon conviction for a domestic dwelling and up to £20,000 for a commercial premises.
Bonfires from commercial premises are also controlled under the Clean Air Act 1993. It is a strict offence to produce dark smoke from a bonfire. Offenders can be prosecuted by the Council and receive fines up to £20,000.
Complainants are asked to keep a diary of when bonfires occur to assit Officers in the investigation.
How to Prevent Smoke Nuisance
* Let your nearest neighbours know before you light your bonfire.
* Burn material in small amounts so the amount of smoke created is small.
* Consider using an incenerator rather than an open fire.
* Choose the location of your bonfire carefully and have a spade, fork or hose pipe ready in case you need to extinguish the bonfire quickly.
* Use alternative methods, compost green waste, recycle other items, use the local Household Waste Recycling Centres.
* Only have a bonfire as the last resort; reuse, recycle and then dispose of.
x DO NOT burn damp grass cuttings or other damp garden waste as this will produce thick smoke.
x DO NOT burn oily rags, rubber, plastic, foam, car tyres etc as these will give rise to black toxic smoke.
x DO NOT light a bonfire when neighbours have hung out their washing or are enjoying their gardens. Be considerate.
x DO NOT light a bonfire if the wind is blowing in the direction of your nearest neighbour. Only light a bonfire if the wind is blowing away from your neighbours.
x DO NOT leave a bonfire unattended. Never leave a bonfire once it is lit.
x DO NOT start a bonfire one hour before dusk.
x DO NOT allow a bonfire to smoulder for long periods of time, especially overnight. Ensure that you rake over the ashes to ensure the bonfire is extinguished.
Household Waste Recycling Centre
You can dispose of garden waste and other houshold items free of charge at:-
King’s Lynn-Horsley Fields
For more details on these please call 0844 800 8004 or visit www.norfolk.gov.uk
Home Compost Bin Scheme
Home compost bins are available to buy with prices starting from just £8 including delivery. To buy a bin, contact the order line on 0845 770 757 or visit www.recyclenow.com
Home and Garden DIY Works
DIY waste can be disposed of at King’s Lynn-Horsley Fields Recycling Centre. You can take one item or an 80 litre sack of DIY waste free of charge. If you want to dispose more than this then you can pay as you throw.
Pay as you throw charges are:
Cars (including Estates) £15
MPV, four-wheel drive, people carrier £20
Single-axle trailer £30
Double-axle trailer £40
For more information call 0844 800 8044
Or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Further advice is available from
Environmental Health and Housing
Borough Council Of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk
Norfolk PE30 1EX
Telephone, Fax, Minicom & email;
Tel: (01553) 616200
Fax: (01553) 775142
Minicom: (01553) 616705
Ourswitchboard operates from:
8am to 6pm Monday to Friday
9am to 12pm Saturday
The King’s Lynn Office is open to the Public from:
8.45am to 5.15pm Monday, Tuesday and Thursday
9.30am to 5.15pm Wednesday
8.45am to 4.45pm Friday
9.00am to 12pm Saturday
This information was provided by King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council’s Environmental Health and Housing department.