Bonfire Advice

We advise using the following alternatives to a bonfire when disposing your garden waste:

  • Composting soft garden waste such as grass cuttings and leaves is the best means of disposal as it returns nutrients to the soil.
     
  • Woody garden waste cannot be easily composted so may be disposed of by cutting relatively short and packing into your green wheelie bin or sacks.
     
  • Large amounts of household and garden waste can be taken to a local household waste and recycling centre. Alternatively consider hiring a skip from a private company. If you would need to place the skip on the road or pavement rather than in your garden, then you need to obtain a licence from Buckinghamshire County Council.
     
  • Additionally, the Waste Management Department can collect bulky items of household refuse e.g. old furniture, mattresses and floor coverings.

However if you decide to have a bonfire we advise you to follow these guidelines to reduce the likelihood of causing a problem:

  • DO NOT burn wet or green garden waste. This will create heavy smoke. Allow clippings to dry and turn brown for a couple of weeks before burning.
  • DO NOT burn any oily rags, rubber, plastics or other materials that will create heavy smoke or toxic fumes.
  • DO NOT light a bonfire when your neighbours have washing drying, or are out enjoying their gardens or have windows wide open.
  • DO advise your nearest neighbours before you light a bonfire so they can be prepared for any minor inconvenience that may arise.
  • DO choose the time of day and weather conditions that will cause the least inconvenience to neighbours. Having a bonfire on a warm day or evening when people want to enjoy their garden and tend to have doors and windows open will cause greater annoyance.
  • DO burn material quickly in small quantities so the minimum amount of smoke is created.
  • DO choose your bonfire site carefully, well away from trees, boundary fences and windows.

Beware of lighting bonfires when there are unstable weather conditions, for example on very windy days it can so easily get out of control. Have a hose-pipe and buckets of water handy just in case and never leave a fire unattended. Hose it down until cold before you leave and then rake the ashes into the soil as a useful fertiliser and prevent them being blown onto your neighbours property.

Wood burning stoves and wood fuel burners are increasing in popularity and are another source of complaints. You should only use well seasoned dry timber and must not burn other materials or treated timber containing paint, varnish or glues. If your neighbour is affected by smoke from your household appliance we would recommend that you burn smokeless fuels, e.g. gas, coke or branded solid smokeless fuels.