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Bonfires and nuisance smoke

Complaint about a bonfire or nuisance smoke

There are no bylaws about garden fires, however, it is causing a statutory nuisance, we can both do something about it.  For a bonfire to be classed as a nuisance, the smoke will have to be affecting you in your home and/or garden and it will need to be taking place roughly two or three times a week.

If you feel comfortable, speaking to the person or business to let them know the bonfire is causing a nuisance could be the best course of action.  If it continues, and its affecting your enjoyment of your home or garden, you can make a complaint.

Report a problem online

You can report a domestic garden bonfire by filling in our online domestic bonfire complaint form.

If you are being affected by black smoke from an industrial or building site or its a commercial property, then we or the Environment Agency can investigate and potentially take action against the offender.

To report a business, industrial, trade waste or building site bonfire, you can fill in our commercial bonfire online complaint form.

Advice if you’re thinking of having a bonfire

COVID-19 update – we’re urging people not to light bonfires during the pandemic.  This is because breathing in smoke can impair a person’s oxygen intake and, with more people remaining at home, lighting a bonfire could cause someone to experience breathing problems.

Please consider doing one of these options instead:

If all the options above are not possible, please follow this advice:

  • Out of courtesy, please let your neighbours know before you light a fire
  • Only burn dry/clean wood and garden waste

Please do not:

  • Burn damp material
  • Burn rubbish, such as plastic, foam, paint or rubber
  • Light the fire using engine oil, methylated spirits or petrol
  • Light the fire in windy weather
  • Leave it unattended, even if the fire is just smouldering

Contact us - Environmental Protection

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01235 422403
(Text phone users add 18001 before dialing)

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Vale of White Horse District Council
Environmental Protection Team
135 Eastern Avenue
Milton Park
OX14 4SB