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Domestic bonfires during Covid-19

No bonfires sign

The Parish Council has recently received a number of complaints about the impact of domestic bonfires on neighbouring properties.  If you are considering having a bonfire, please think twice about your neighbours, particularly at this time when many elderly individuals, or those self-isolating can only enjoy their immediate gardens due to current guidelines in response to COVID-19.

Smoke from bonfires can aggravate respiratory problems, which people with underlying health conditions or with virus symptoms may be experiencing.

We understand that the changes to collection services and the closure of local household recycling centres may create a storage issue for some residents. Please think of others, compost your garden waste where possible, and stack or bag up rubbish for disposal when the current emergency is over, rather than burn it.

Bonfires can also become out of control or cause accidents, creating extra pressure on our already busy emergency services.

  • 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.
  • Never use old engine oil, methylated spirit or petrol to light or encourage the fire.
  • Avoid lighting a fire in unsuitable weather conditions.
  • 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.

There are no specific laws relating to garden bonfires or times at which they can or cannot be lit. However, if a neighbour is repeatedly causing a problem to you by burning rubbish or garden waste it may be considered a statutory nuisance and can be investigated by the Borough Council.

If you feel the problem may be classed as a statutory nuisance, have spoken to the person involved – whilst maintaining social distancing – (or do not feel you are able to) and the smoke nuisance continues, please complete the TMBC online report form or contact them


15 April 2020

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