To make a complaint about commercial burning use this online form
We are currently UNABLE to provide an emergency call out service to deal with incidents which occur in the evening or at weekends. However, we will aim to respond during the next working day.
Emissions from bonfires can cause complaints from neighbours and can seriously affect the health of an individual if the smoke or ash is inhaled by them, particularly if they suffer from a respiratory medical condition.
The following laws apply to bonfires at industrial/commercial premises, including building/construction sites.
Environmental Protection Act 1990 - your duty of care
Section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 requires businesses to make sure that they are fulfilling their duty of care when disposing and storing of their waste. Under sections 33 and 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 it is an offence to store or dispose of trade waste (including burning) without a waste management licence (or exemption) or in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health.
Environmental Protection Act 1990 - smoke nuisance
Action can also be taken under Section 79 and 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 where smoke from bonfires is deemed to be a statutory nuisance. For industrial/commercial premises the punishment on successful prosecution in a magistrates court for this type of offence is an unlimited fine and/or imprisonment.
Clean Air Act 1990 - dark smoke and cable burning
Section 2 of the Clean Air Act 1993 (prohibition of dark smoke from industrial or trade premises). You must not burn at any time any material that will create dark smoke, for example plastic and cable.
The Council does not have to witness the burning of materials or an emission of dark smoke from your site to prove an offence has been committed. If evidence is found at your site indicating that materials have been burnt that are likely to create dark smoke, then this is deemed suitable evidence to prove an offence has been committed.
Committing an offence under Section 2 may result in legal action and an unlimited fine. Please note that dark smoke is a shade of grey defined in law and that in order for the council to take action an authorised officer of the Council would have to witness the offence.
Dispose of your waste legally
The Council recommends that waste is disposed of using a trade waste collection.
Detailed information about your waste duties can be found on the Environment Agency Website or contact them on 08708 506506.
Last updated 25 September 2019