Smoke and bonfires

We urge residents to be considerate to their neighbours by not lighting bonfires or using wood burners.

Whilst there are no laws or by-laws preventing residents from having bonfires within the borough, the smoke, ash and odour created by bonfires often has an impact on surrounding residents and, most severely, on residents suffering from respiratory symptoms or those who are vulnerable.

Garden bonfires: dos and don’ts

The law allows you to have a bonfire at any time of the day providing that the smoke given off from the fire does not cause a nuisance.  

You might be breaking the law if:

  • smoke enters people's houses
  • smoke blows across gardens and prevents your neighbours normal use of their gardens
  • smoke affects people's washing
  • smoke blows across a highway (road or footpath).

Tips for having a bonfire without causing a nuisance:

  • only burn dry material
  • never leave a fire unattended
  • never use petrol, paraffin, diesel, lighter fluid or old oil to encourage the fire
  • avoid having a bonfire at weekends or bank holidays
  • warn people nearby that could be affected and
  • avoid damp or still weather conditions as the smoke will not disperse effectively.

Other options for getting rid of domestic waste

Smoke from trade or industrial premises

The Clean Air Act 1993 makes it an offence to emit dark smoke from any trade or industrial premises. This includes demolition work and site clearance activities (subject to certain exemptions). An authorised officer of the council must witness the offence. It also an offence to burn insulation from cable to recover the metal.

There are strict guidelines in place covering the control of industrial air pollution.

Smoke control areas

There are no smoke control areas in Woking.