There are no laws that prohibit bonfires, but there are laws around the problems they may cause and the burning of certain materials.
Call 999 if you are concerned about smoke from a building, or smoke causing poor visibility on a highway.
Find out about air pollution in New Forest.
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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 always respect the reasonable wishes of your neighbours.
If you intend to use a bonfire to dispose of garden waste, consider the alternatives:
You can reduce the effects caused by bonfires by following this advice.
Burning that takes places at people's households can be one of the biggest contributors to pollution in the UK.
From the 1 May 2021, the government are phasing out two of the most polluting fuels, traditional house coal and wet wood, to help improve air quality. In addition, the 'Ready to Burn' logo has been introduced to help customers choose less polluting alternatives, dry wood and manufactured solid fuels. Further information can be found on the Ready to Burn website: www.readytoburn.org.
We are working with other Hampshire councils and a local environmental charity, the Environment Centre (tEC), to promote cleaner burning in open fires, stoves and bonfires.
If you use a solid fuel appliance you should:
Burn less: Reduce burning where possible, keep stoves and fires for particularly cold weather or if they are your only heating source
Burn cleaner: Use cleaner fuels such as smokeless, authorised fuels or dry, well-seasoned wood with low moisture content
Burn better: Use efficient appliances which have been correctly sized for the room, don't shut off air or allow the temperature to drop, and service and clean them regularly. Don't allow burning to continue through the night
Burn differently: If possible, switch heating to no or low emission fuels, such as renewable, electric or gas alternatives
You should also ensure the flue is of sufficient height to achieve adequate smoke dispersion. It is recommended that wood burning stoves (or any appliances burning solid fuel) do not have a cap or cowl on the discharge end of the flue that impedes the upward vertical flow of emissions from the flue. This causes the smoke to flow back down to the ground (down-wash) and increases the likelihood of causing annoyance to your neighbours.
For more information and advice on wood burning, see the Environment Centre website http://environmentcentre.com/wood-burning
To read the laws about burning certain types of waste, and to prevent bonfires causing a nuisance, visit the government website https://www.gov.uk/garden-bonfires-rules
If you are struggling to stay warm or pay energy bills, call the Southampton and Hampshire advice line 0800 804 8601.
The Clean Air Act 1993 introduced a wide range of new regulations, such as those which control smoke emissions.
There are no smoke control areas within New Forest. However, care should be taken when choosing a fuel to avoid causing smoke problems to your neighbours.
You can contact us to make a complaint about anything detailed above, or to ask questions about bonfires and burning materials.
Phone: 02380 285411
Environmental Health (Protection)
Our office hours are:
Monday to Thursday: 8.45am to 5.15pm
Fridays: 8.45am to 4.45pm