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Domestic Bonfires

Info taken from the Babergh District Council and Mid Suffolk District Council September 2019. 

There are no specific controls, such as permitted times, over the lighting of bonfires to burn waste.  If only dry waste is burnt the occasional bonfire should not cause a problem.

If the bonfires are only occasional it will be difficult to prove a nuisance in law.  This would also apply if there are several different neighbours occasionally having bonfires.  Download a Garden Bonfires Leaflet here for further information on the law.

If you are being disturbed by bonfire smoke from your neighbour, it is worth talking to them about it in the first instance – they may not realise they are causing a problem.  

If you have spoken to your neighbour and the situation doesn’t improve, report it to us providing evidence about the frequency of the bonfires, their duration, location and how the problem directly affects you.


Bonfire guidelines

If you must have a bonfire follow these guidelines to avoid causing a nuisance and to keep safe:

  • Keep the number of bonfires to an absolute minimum.
  • Only burn dry material. This will produce the minimum of smoke.
  • Never burn household rubbish, rubber tyres, or anything containing plastic, foam or paint. The Council will collect domestic hazardous waste for a small fee - see our Hazardous Waste Collections page for details.
  • Never use old engine oil, methylated spirit or petrol to light or encourage the fire.
  • Avoid lighting a fire in unsuitable weather conditions. Smoke hangs in the air on damp, still days and in the evening around sunset – ensure the bonfire is extinguished well before.
  • If it is windy, smoke may be blown into neighbours’ gardens and across roads.
  • Keep the bonfire under adult supervision at all times and ensure it is extinguished completely, by dousing with soil or water, before you leave it.
  • Keep a hose pipe or buckets of water close at hand in case the fire gets out of hand.
  • Take account of your neighbours’ activities e.g. washing hanging on a line, open windows, sitting in garden, decorating etc.
  • Consult, or at least warn, your neighbour before lighting a bonfire.