Smoke disturbance

How to report a smoke disturbance, find out if it's legal to have a bonfire and how not to disturb neighbours with a barbecue.

Garden bonfires 

Having a bonfire in your garden is not illegal, but it is illegal to cause a smoke disturbance.   

Smoke from bonfires can: 

  • disturb your neighbours 
  • cause air pollution 
  • be a problem for people with asthma, bronchitis, and heart conditions 

Instead of burning things, find out how to get rid of unwanted household items, garden waste and bulky items

If you do have a bonfire: 

Commercial bonfires 

As a business you cannot burn your waste unless you have a legal permit to burn specific materials. Find out about permits for commercial waste on GOV.UK.

All businesses must deal with their waste and rubbish lawfully. Find out about how to get rid of your commercial waste


Barbecue smoke can be a legal nuisance if it happens often or there’s a lot of smoke.   

Try not to disturb your neighbours by: 

  • telling them in advance about the barbecue and perhaps invite them 
  • not having a barbecue when their washing is out 
  • not putting your barbecue near their windows or open doors – put it as far away as possible 
  • keeping the noise down and not using a sound system in your garden  


We can issue legal notices and fines to people having nuisance bonfires.  

Report a smoke disturbance 

Before you report a smoke disturbance, make sure you've gathered supporting evidence – find out what evidence to collect on the ASB (antisocial behaviour) Help website

To complete a report you need: 

  • your evidence
  • police reference number if you reported it to the police 
  • to tell us 
    • when the disturbance happened – date and time  
    • who was affected  
    • how the disturbance made you feel  

Complete our online antisocial behaviour form to make a complaint. 

Report now

After making a complaint

After receiving your report we aim to assess it within 24 hours and will contact you within 5 working days.  

If we can help you with the issue, we'll give your case to one of our officers and they'll keep you updated on progress.  

If we can’t help you with the issue, we'll let you know.  

If you made an anonymous report, we cannot give you an update.