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Bonfires and Smoke

Information about bonfires, how to complain and the Smoke Control Area that covers Nottingham City.

Complain About a Bonfire

In the first instance and in line with Government guidance, if you are experiencing a problem from your neighbour try to approach the person.

If you need to complain about frequent bonfire nuisance, you can contact pollution control or alternatively contact us on 0115 915 2020 (office hours). Out of hours, leave a message which will be answered the next working day.

Legal action may be taken in the Magistrates Court against those causing smoke nuisance and deposit nuisance from bonfires with a maximum fine of £5000.

Bonfires: Domestic and Allotment

There are no restrictions against having bonfires on private, residential properties, however bonfires readily cause smoke, cause an unpleasant odour and have an effect on local air quality.

Avoid having bonfires by disposing of garden waste or household waste by composting/recycling or arranging for it to be removed. Nottingham City Council provides a free bulky waste collection scheme.

Note that if you have a builder or tradesman working at your property, any bonfire caused by the trader disposing of waste is not permissible and will be referred to the Environment Agency for investigation.

Bonfires: Commercial and Industrial

Commercial fires are restricted by The Clean Air Act 1993: Section 2 which prohibits dark smoke being emitted from industrial or trade premises as a result of burning any matter. The emission of dark smoke is a strict offence and can lead to prosecution in the Magistrates Court to a maximum of £5,000 per offence.

The maximum penalty for causing statutory nuisance from trade premises is £20,000.

Waste produced during the course of normal business activity should be disposed of in an appropriate manner. Disposal by burning is not permissible and will be referred to the Environment Agency for investigation under the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994 relating to the disposal of trade waste.

Smoke Control Areas

The whole of the Nottingham City area is subject to Smoke Control Orders under the Clean Air Act 1993.

The Clean Air Act 1993 - Section 20 states that:

"If on any day smoke is emitted from a chimney of any building* within a Smoke Control Area, the occupier of that building shall be guilty of an offence". *(This includes garden sheds and greenhouses).

The burning of ordinary coal, wood or garden waste are an offence under the Clean Air Act and could lead to prosecution resulting in a fine of up to £1000.

Burning solid fuel applies to the use of any stove or appliance that is vented by a chimney and therefore includes garden, greenhouse and allotment stoves and heaters. Remember that wood is not an authorised fuel.

Find out more about smokeless zones and fuels in Nottingham

Authorised fuels and exempt appliances

Only authorised smokeless fuel, which can be ignited by bottled gas, firelighters or electric igniters, may be burned in Smoke Control Areas. A full list is available on the UK Smoke Control Areas website.

In addition to using smokeless fuel, you should ensure that the appliance being used is an approved appliance and is suitable for burning the authorised fuel.

There are exempted appliances available, some of which can be used within a Smoke Control Area for burning normally unauthorised fuel, such as coal or wood. A list of appliances is available on the UK Smoke Control Areas website.

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