Winter seems always to herald an increase in the number of complaints I receive from villagers suffering from their neighbours’ bonfires. Whilst there are currently no smoke free zones, byelaws or restrictions on having a bonfire at a domestic residence in Breckland, you must ensure that your fire does not cause a nuisance to nearby homes and roads. Frequent fires from the same premises could be considered a statutory nuisance; the Environmental Protection Team will investigate anything deemed as such. If you want to report a nuisance you can use the following link:

Please consider the following points before you have a bonfire:

  • Consider another method of disposal first, such as composting, recycling or taking it to the Household Waste Depot in Snetterton.

Further advice can be found here:

  • Bonfires should be occasional
  • Liaise with neighbours before you light a bonfire
  • Check weather conditions and wind direction before lighting a fire.  N.B. On damp still days smoke hangs in the air.
  • Garden rubbish should be dry before burning to avoid smoke
  • NEVER burn plastics, foam, tyres or household waste.  These materials can produce toxic fumes, which are harmful to health and the environment.
  • Never leave a fire to smoulder unattended; put it out before you leave it.
  • Take extra care if using accelerants e.g flammable liquids

Breckland Council will not get involved in one-off issues or if smoke is arising infrequently from different premises.  If smoke is from a bonfire on the allotments you should contact the parish council in the first instance.

Smoke causing a danger to the highway should be reported to Norfolk Police.

In the event that you are being bothered frequently by smoke from fires from the same premises, you should try speaking to your neighbour about it first.  They may not be aware that they are causing a problem.  If this does not work, you can contact the Environmental Protection Team and your complaint will be investigated as a statutory nuisance.

If you want to report a nuisance, you can use the following link:


Tim Betts

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