Garden Bonfire Advice. Especially in this Dry Weather
… think about your neighbours
The Parish Council has received complaints about smoky, smelly and ill-timed bonfires in the village. These spoil neighbours’ enjoyment of their own gardens and force them to close windows and bring in washing.
… think about the fire risk
In this unusually dry year there is a real risk of the fire spreading. There has been a record number of wildfires causing serious environmental damage and sometimes destroying homes. With a further heatwave forecast and everywhere already tinder dry, this is not the time for bonfires.
… consider the alternatives
Stroud District Council recommends that we don’t have garden bonfires at all. They suggest various alternatives for getting rid of garden waste.
If you are experiencing nuisance from a garden bonfire
You can report it to SDC using this link. Even a single highly polluting bonfire can qualify as statutory nuisance.
SDC can serve a legal notice on the person responsible, requiring them to stop causing the nuisance. If necessary, this can be followed up with a prosecution, potentially leading to a fine.
Anyone affected by a bonfire also has the option of lodging a complaint at the Magistrates Court. If the Court agrees that nuisance occurred, it can issue a fine.
The maximum fine is £5,000 – an expensive bonfire!
If you still want a bonfire
There’s no doubt about it, us country dwellers are pretty attached to our garden bonfires. If you decide to have one after this exceptionally dry period has ended, please follow SDC’s guidelines:
- Only ever burn dry material.
- Never burn household rubbish or anything with plastic, foam, paint, or rubber in it.
- Never use old engine oil, methylated spirits, diesel or petrol, which cause smoke and are very dangerous.
- Avoid lighting fires in unsuitable weather conditions such as damp, still days.
- Avoid times when the wind will blow smoke over roads or into neighbour’s gardens.
- Avoid burning when people want to enjoy their gardens such as at weekends or Bank Holidays.
- Avoid burning when the local air pollution index is anything other than LOW https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/ .
- Never leave a fire unattended or leave it to smoulder.