Bonfires

Can I have a bonfire?

Having an occasional bonfire is allowed but it is advisable to contact all the neighbours surrounding your property to warn them. Since it is difficult to tell how far the smoke, ash, and smell will travel it is best to let as many people know as possible.

Things that definitely should not be burnt on a bonfire include: -

  • household rubbish
  • plastics
  • rubber tyres
  • damp material, eg plant matter and cardboard

The law

The Council has legal powers to stop bonfires if a statutory nuisance occurs and may even prosecute offenders. Regular bonfires may fall into this category where smoke, smell, or ash is carried over someone else's property .

Is there a time of day when bonfires aren't allowed?

There is no restriction on the time of day when bonfires can be lit as there is no bylaw in Spelthorne. We recommend that people choose a time that will affect their neighbours the least.

Builders and businesses - are they allowed to burn?

It is an offence to cause dark or black smoke from any trade or industrial premises. This offence also applies to any material burned in connection with any industrial or trade process and to the burning of material likely to give rise to dark smoke.

If there is a bonfire incident on a commercial property in Spelthorne then this can be registered with the Environment Agency by using the free phone number 0800 807060. The Environment Agency may ask you to also contact Environmental Health.

Reporting a bonfire nuisance

If you are bothered by smoke, start by approaching your neighbour and explain the problem. You might feel awkward, but they may not be aware of the distress they are causing and it will hopefully make them more considerate in the future.

Please bear in mind that if the fire is only occasional it is unlikely to be considered a nuisance in law.

If it is more regular, you can contact Pollution Control. You will be asked to fill in log sheets to record instances of when smoke is unreasonably affecting you. You will need to be sure of the location of the bonfire for each instance. You can also use the report a bonfire online form.