Garden Bonfires

Bonfires can be very irrating to neighbours, the smoke and smell they cause are the subject of many complaints to local authorities.

Weather conditions can make matters worse. If the air is still, particularly in the afternoon or late evening, smoke will linger in the air. A dry blazing fire will help to lift smoke and fumes upwards. On the other hand if it is too windy, smoke may blow into neighbouring properties causing annoyance.

What's the Legal Position

Under the Environmental protection Act of 1990 it is an offence to cause a statutory nuisance. this includes smoke, fumes or gases " emitted from premises, so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance" and can include nuisance created by bonfires. To be considered a nuisance it would have to be a regular occurance and interferes with well being, comfort or enjoyment of the home.

If you are bothered by a bonfire, it is best to approach your neighbour first and explain the problem. If this approach fails, contact Dartford Borough Council's Environmental Department, who will investigate your complaint and issue a nuisance notice if appropriate.

The Good Bonfire Guideline

Warn your neighbours (they are much less likely to complain if informed)

Only burn dry material

Never burn household rubbish which may include rubber or plastic

Never use engine oil or petrol to light the bonfire

Avoid lighting the bonfire in unsuitable weather conditions including damp, windy or still days

Avoid burning at weekends and Bank holidays (when people are enjoying their gardens and have washing out)

Never leave a bonfire unattended or leave it to smoulder.