Smoke and bonfire complaint

We will investigate reports of nuisance smoke across the district, including bonfires. We will also investigate smoke from chimneys in smoke control areas.

If the smoke/fire you are reporting is likely to cause an immediate threat to people’s lives, road users or land/property, please dial 999 and speak to the fire service.

About bonfires

There are no laws to stop people from having a bonfire in their home garden, but they should not burn items that can cause significant air pollution or harm people’s health, such as plastics or treated materials, such as painted wood. People also need to make sure the smoke from the bonfire will not affect anyone, including motorists or other home owners. We recommend people do not have bonfires in built up/residential areas, because it is very difficult to prevent the smoke from blowing across to adjoining properties.

It is illegal to have a bonfire at a trade premises, or to take trade waste to a residential premises to burn (with some specific exemptions). This is because doing so means the business is not disposing of its waste appropriately.

Where a bonfire is not a direct offence (such as burning trade waste or plastics), it will only be considered a nuisance if it happens regularly.

If a bonfire is a nuisance we can issue an abatement notice. If someone does not comply, they can be fined up to £5,000.

About smoke controlled zones 

There are a number of smoke controlled zones in the district, where you can’t emit smoke from a chimney unless you’re burning an authorised fuel or using an exempt appliance (visit to find out more). Outdoor appliances, such as an outdoor barbecue, chiminea, fireplace or pizza ovens can be used in smoke controlled zones, but must not cause a smoke nuisance.

Bonfires are allowed in smoke controlled zones, provided the follow the rules on bonfires.

We will investigate reports of smoke from chimneys in smoke controlled zones. You can be fined up to £1,000 if you break the rules.

We recommend you contact the person responsible before making a complaint

Before submitting a complaint, we suggest you first contact the person causing the smoke, provided you are comfortable to do so – why not download our letter template. Contacting the person responsible may resolve the problem more quickly and often leads to a better long-term solution.

Logging the issue

This form asks for your agreement to take part in logging the issue. Once you submit your form, we will provide you with a log sheet. This will help us assess the scale of the issue and the impact on your life. If you do not submit the log sheets, after a period of one calendar month, we will assume the issue is not ongoing and we will close your case.

Anonymous complaints

We are sorry but we cannot take anonymous complaints because we cannot take enforcement action without assessing the impacts of the problem on your life/business.

Please use this form to report nuisance smoke or smoke in a smoke controlled zone. As part of this form, we will ask you for your email address, so we can keep you up to date on what we will do to resolve/address your issue.