It is not illegal to have a bonfire, but you could be fined if it causes a nuisance.

We encourage you not to have bonfires because they can cause air pollution and affect people with breathing difficulties. Instead of burning your waste please take it to our Reuse and Recycling Centre in Morden, compost garden waste at home, use our garden waste collection service, or our free bulky waste collection service.

Report a problem

If smoke from a bonfire is causing a danger to traffic please contact the police.

If you feel that smoke is causing a problem, contact us giving the address where it is being held.

We do not provide a 24/7 service. In most cases we would carry out any enforcement action required on the same or next working day (Monday to Friday).

We can issue an ‘abatement notice’ if a bonfire is causing a nuisance. A bonfire must happen frequently to be considered a nuisance. You can be fined up to £5,000 if you do not comply with an abatement notice.

Commercial waste

Commercial waste must not be disposed of by burning.

Contractors carrying out work at your property must not burn waste and you must ensure that they arrange for proper disposal of waste from your property.

How to minimise the effect of bonfires

If you consider that you do need to have a bonfire please consider your neighbours.

  • Do not start a bonfire if your neighbours have their washing out, or if they are outside enjoying their gardens or have their windows wide open.
  • Choose a time of the day that will cause the least inconvenience to your neighbours. Avoid burning at weekends and on bank holidays.
  • Check the wind direction. Avoid burning when the wind is likely to carry the smoke over roads or into other people's property.
  • Only burn dry materials.
  • Keep a good flame burning and feed the fire little and often.
  • Do not leave the fire to smoulder or smoke. Hose it down completely before you leave it.
  • Do not try to burn items such as grass cuttings.
  • Never burn rubber, lino, oily or plastic materials which give off heavy or toxic smoke.

See also

Contact us

Environmental Health Section
Environment and Regeneration
Merton Civic Centre
London Road

Telephone: 020 8545 3025