Bonfires

It is not illegal to have a bonfire, but you should follow our advice about what to burn as they can cause pollution and nuisance to others. 

Burning household rubbish 

You must never burn household rubbish, rubber tyres or anything containing plastic, foam or paint. If you burn rubbish that causes a nuisance, we may issue an abatement notice and ask you to pay a fine.

The Council strongly discourages bonfires in built up areas, as they worsen the poor air quality that Newham already experiences, and invariably cause a nuisance to neighbours.Recent research has indicated that smoke microscopic particles from bonfires, worsens Covid-19  and asthma symptoms for those exposed. 

Alternative ways to get rid of rubbish 

There are many other cleaner ways to get rid of your rubbish. You could: 

If you decide to have a bonfire 

There may be times when you want to have a bonfire to mark a celebration, such as Guy Fawkes Night. 

If you do decide to have a bonfire, only burn grass, weeds or wood that can’t be composted. 

Also, you should: 

  • Only burn dry material 

  • Avoid having a bonfire on windy or damp days 

  • Do not light a fire near to trees, fences and buildings 

  • Never use oil, petrol or methylated spirits to light a fire 

  • Never leave a fire unattended or leave it to smoulder.  

Report a neighbour’s bonfire 

If a neighbour is frequently having a bonfire and it is causing a problem, talk to your neighbour. They may not be aware that the bonfire is a nuisance to others. 
 
If the problem continues, call us on 020 8430 2000. 

Report a bonfire on an industrial or commercial site 

If you run a business, you must make arrangements to get rid of your rubbish in the right way, either through our commercial waste service or a private waste company. 

Under the Clean Air Act, it is illegal for a business to use a bonfire to burn materials which cause dark smoke such as plastic, paint tins or rubber. You could face a fine of up to £20,000. 
 
We will investigate commercial bonfires that cause dark smoke or a general nuisance, to report one, call us on 020 8430 2000.