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Burning

Nuisance from Bonfires

If you have concerns regarding smoke from your neighbour's bonfire, you may wish to discuss the matter first with them as they may not be aware that there is a problem. Often this resolves the majority of complaints. Should this not be effective, we may formally investigate your complaint and also offer individual advice. Please be aware that a 'one-off' incident is unlikely to be investigated.

When making a complaint, we require the following information:-

  • Your name, address, telephone number and email address (The Council does not investigate anonymous complaints)

  • The address of the alleged source of the bonfire;

  • Detailed information of the complaint - how, when and where it affects you.

    As part of the investigation, we will require the completion of a diary sheet noting episodes of burning generally over a 1-3 week period. Upon receipt of the diary, it may then be appropriate for officers to contact your neighbour, bringing the matter to their attention and offering advice on how the situation may be improved.

    Should the problem persist, officers may visit to gather evidence of the extent of the problem. If we are unable to resolve the matter informally and are satisfied of the existence of a Statutory Nuisance, an Abatement Notice may be served requiring that the nuisance be abated.

    Failure to comply with an Abatement Notice is an offence and legal proceedings may result. If found guilty of an offence of this type then there is an unlimited fine. You may be required to give evidence in the Magistrates' Court.

     

    Advice on burning


    When can I have a bonfire?

    There are no restrictions on when you can or cannot have a bonfire; however, you shouldn't cause a smoke nuisance to anyone. In warm weather, windows may be left open and people may be enjoying their gardens well into the evening period. You should respect the reasonable wishes of your neighbours at all times.

    What are the alternatives to having a bonfire?

    You can reduce the risk of upsetting or causing concerns to your neighbour by following the advice below.

  • Compost as much garden waste as possible

  • Purchase a Council green garden waste sack and put it out for collection by our waste team. (these are available for purchase from the Council's Customer Services on 023 8028 5000)

  • Take the remainder of garden waste to a public waste disposal site.

     

If I have a bonfire, how can I reduce the effects?

Do:

  • Have as few bonfires as possible;

  • Try to tell your neighbours when you intend to light it;

  • Build it as far away from neighbouring properties as possible;

  • Keep bonfires away from fences, hedges or other combustible materials, which might catch fire accidentally;

  • Burn only dry vegetation or clean, untreated wood

  • Have plenty of water ready;

  • Attend the fire at all times; and

  • Continually monitor whether the fire might cause annoyance and extinguish it if necessary.

    Do Not:

  • Light a bonfire if the wind will blow smoke across neighbouring properties;

  • Light a bonfire if a neighbour is using or is likely to use their garden;

  • Light a bonfire if there is washing on a neighbour's line;

  • Light a bonfire if the weather is wet, windy or misty;

  • Burn any green cuttings or wet material;

  • Burn household waste, plastics, rubber or any other material, which would cause dark smoke or harmful combustion products;

  • Allow smoke to blow across a road;

  • Leave a fire smouldering.

     

    Where are the nearest Household Waste Sites?

    Efford Household Waste Recycling Centre

    Milford Road, Pennington, Lymington, SO41 8EZ.  Tel: 01590 671874

    Open 7 days per week: (except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years day)

    09:00 to 18:00 - 01 April to 30 September

    09:00 to 16:00 - 01 October to 28 February

    09:00 to 17.00 - 01 March to 31 March

    Marchwood Household Waste Recycling Centre

    Normandy Way, Marchwood, SO40 4UD.  Tel: 02380 865178

    Open 7 days per week: (except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years day)

    09:00 to 18:00 - 01 April to 30 September

    09:00 to 16:00 - 01 October to 28 February

    09:00 to 17:00 - 01 March to 31 March

    Somerley Household Waste Recycling Centre

    Verwood Road, Ringwood Forest, Somerley, BH24 3QE. Tel: 01202 828083

    Open 7 days per week: (except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years day)

    09:00 to 18:00 - 01 April to 30 September

    09:00 to 16:00 - 01 October to 28 February

    09:00 to 17:00 - 01 March to 31 March

     If you are troubled by burning on a construction or commercial site, please visit the Construction Works - Noise, Dust and Smoke page.

     

    Smokeless Zones

    The Clean Air Act 1993, introduced a wide range of new regulations such as those which control smoke emissions.

    Are there any smoke control areas in the New Forest?

    There are no smoke control areas within the New Forest and bonfires and solid fuel appliances are permitted however, care should be taken when undertaking any burning to avoid causing smoke problems to your neighbours.

    Nuisance from solid fuel appliances/wood burners

    The use of such an appliance is considered to be a reasonable activity, and you might expect to smell your neighbour's stove or fire from time to time. If you have concerns regarding smoke from your neighbour's solid fuel burner, you may wish to discuss the matter first with them as they may not be aware that there is a problem. Often this resolves the majority of complaints. Should this not be effective, we can formally investigate your complaint and also offer individual advice.


    When making a complaint, we require the following information:-

  • Your name, address, telephone number and email address (The Council does not investigate anonymous complaints)

  • The address of the alleged source of the bonfire;

  • Detailed information of the complaint - how, when and where it affects you.

  • You will initially be asked to keep a record of when you are troubled by smoke and odour.

    Should the problem persist, officers may visit to gather evidence of the extent of the problem. If we are unable to resolve the matter informally and are satisfied of the existence of a Statutory Nuisance, an Abatement Notice may be served requiring that the nuisance be abated.

    Failure to comply with an Abatement Notice is an offence and legal proceedings may result. If found guilty of an offence of this type then there is an unlimited fine. You may be required to give evidence in the Magistrates' Court.

    Reducing smoke and odour from a solid fuel appliance

    When using a solid fuel appliance, you should ensure that:

  • Only seasoned wood or smokeless fuel is burned;

  • The appliance reaches a high temperature as soon as possible to ensure efficient burning;

  • The fire is not burning throughout the night;

  • The burner is the appropriate size for the room;

  • The flue is of sufficient height to achieve adequate smoke dispersion;

  • The flue is cleaned on an annual basis.

 

Updated: 14 May 2020
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