The Regulation & Enforcement team is responsible for investigating complaints about smoke from bonfires.

Coronavirus update

Firefighters across South Yorkshire are asking people to pledge not to have a garden fire during the on-going Coronavirus pandemic due to a huge spike in garden fires since the outbreak started.

The fire service has also been contacted by a number of residents who have found it hard to physically leave their homes to exercise, due to the smoke coming from local garden fires where people have been burning garden and household waste.

If you have a problem with bonfires which you feel cause a nuisance, you can report this using the link below:

If the smoke is black and is from a bonfire on a commercial premises, then please ring the Regulation & Enforcement team on 01302 737573.

Bonfires can be a nuisance - the smoke, smuts and smells they cause can ruin residents’ enjoyment of their property, preventing them from opening windows, hanging washing out and can prevent them enjoying being in their own garden.

Burning waste may produce the poisonous gas carbon monoxide as well as other toxic compounds. Many of these compounds can have damaging health effects, particularly in susceptible people - such as children, asthmatics, and those with heart and chest problems.

Even if the immediate health risk is small, your bonfire will add to the background level of air pollution. Weather conditions can make matters worse. If the air is still, particularly in the late afternoon or evening, smoke will linger in the air. On the other hand, if it is too windy, smoke may blow into neighbouring properties causing nuisance or across roads causing danger.

Don't forget that bonfires can be dangerous from a safety point of view - spreading fire to fences or buildings, scorching trees and plants. Piled rubbish for bonfires is often used as a refuge by animals - look out for hibernating hedgehogs and sleeping pets.

Visit our garden bonfire rules page and follow the simple tips below to make sure you and others are safe:

Instead of having a bonfire, there are other, far less environmentally damaging methods of disposal.

  • composting: most garden and kitchen waste can be recycled into compost which will produce a useful soil conditioner, saving you money on commercial products. Visit the following link for more information on composting
  • recycling: store your waste temporarily - once coronavirus restrictions are lifted the Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) will reopen throughout the borough where Doncaster residents can go, free of charge, and recycle their household waste
  • shredding: woody waste can be shredded to make it suitable for composting or mulching; you can buy or hire shredders, but remember, they can be noisy - don't replace one nuisance with another!

If you have any further questions about fireworks, please visit our bonfires FAQs page.

The legal position

If done carefully, the occasional bonfire or barbecue should not cause a major problem, so an outright ban on bonfires would be unreasonable. However, under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, it is an offence to cause a statutory nuisance, and this can include nuisances created by bonfires.

To be considered a nuisance, the bonfire would have to be a regular problem and interfering substantially with your well-being, comfort or enjoyment of your property. If you are bothered by persistent bonfire smoke, you may wish to approach your neighbours: they may be genuinely unaware that their actions are affecting you.

However, you may feel unable to approach your neighbours, and you must consider your safety if you were to try this method. You should contact the Regulation & Enforcement team on 01302 737573 and inform them of your concerns. In most cases letters are written to both parties and this is enough to resolve the problem.

In some cases it does not end there and if the bonfires persist you should inform the officer dealing with your case. You should complete the monitoring form sent to you by the officer, to provide information to allow the officer to establish whether there is the occurrence of a nuisance.

They may wish to visit to assess whether the bonfire is a statutory nuisance. If it is, an abatement notice may be served on your neighbours under Section 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. If the person then fails to comply with the notice, they may be prosecuted which upon conviction in a Magistrates Court gives rise to a maximum fine of £5000.  

Contact us

 For further information, please contact us: 

Last updated: 21 April 2020 13:32:20