Domestic smoke control

Smoke from chimneys attached to dwellings in a smoke control area is not classed as a statutory nuisance.

Bonfires and barbeques

Bonfires and barbecues can become irritating to surrounding premises if the smoke and smell prevents hanging out washing, opening windows and the use of outdoor areas by others.

We would advise against having a bonfire. For alternative methods of safely disposing of your waste, please see our A-Z of recycling.

If you do have a bonfire, try to avoid burning at weekends and bank holidays. Make sure you only burn dry material and do not leave a fire unattended or smouldering. 

The council can take action if the smoke can be classified as a statutory nuisance. For this to be the case, it must:

  • Unreasonably and substantially interfere with the use or enjoyment of a home or other premises
  • Injure health or be likely to injure health

To determine whether smoke is causing a statutory nuisance, we will take into account:

  • The amount of smoke
  • How often it happens and for how long
  • How unreasonable the activity is

If the smoke is drifting across a road and endangering traffic, please contact the police.

If a nuisance, in the opinion of the local authority, is caused by smoke from bonfires or barbecues, we can serve a statutory notice to prevent it happening. Failure to comply with this can result in a conviction at a Magistrates' Court. This could mean a fine of up to £5,000 and an additional £500 for each day the offence continues after conviction.

Smoke control relating to industrial premises

It is an offence, subject to certain exemptions, to emit dark smoke from industrial or trade premises. This would include any premises which are being used for a trade, such as a domestic premises where work is being undertaken.

An offence under this section of the act may result in a fine not exceeding £20,000.

Burning commercial waste

Businesses should not burn any commercial waste, not even cardboard. You have an obligation to dispose of waste in a legal manner, which does not include burning.

If you believe a fire is dangerous, please call the Fire and Rescue Service immediately on 999.

Report a smoke nuisance

If you are suffering from a smoke nuisance, we would encourage you to speak to the person or business creating the problem. If this is unsuccessful, we may be able to help.

Please note: We are unlikely to deal with a one-off situation in a formal way unless the nuisance is particularly significant or is affecting a large number of households.

Make a complaint about smoke