Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Bonfires - What you need to know

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Burning waste is usually an environmentally poor waste management option. However, when it comes to bonfire night there are no laws about having a bonfire in your garden, but there are laws for the nuisance and pollution it could cause.

The Fire and Rescue Service suggest that you attend an official organised bonfire and firework display, however if you are planning on having a bonfire, here is some good practice and safety advice:

  • Make sure the bonfire is a safe distance from other things that could catch and is well away from buildings, vehicles, trees, hedges, fences power lines, telecommunications equipment and sheds.
  • You must make sure that the smoke does not cause a nuisance to neighbours, affect visibility on roads or otherwise inconvenience vehicles.
  • Sparks and flying embers or burning debris must not endanger nearby property.
  • Never leave a burning/smouldering bonfire unsupervised – make sure it is completely extinguished.
  • Never drink alcohol if you are tending a bonfire or setting off fireworks.
  • To reduce the emission of harmful smoke and combustion products bonfires should only be comprised of dry untreated wood and paper based products.
  • Do not burn:
    • aerosol cans
    • batteries
    • fireworks
    • foam furniture
    • general household rubbish
    • glass
    • mattresses
    • metal
    • paint tins
    • plastic
    • rubber
    • sofas
    • treated wood
  • Never use flammable liquids to ignite a bonfire, use proprietary fire lighters.
  • Always keep a bucket of water or a hosepipe handy.


Another important point to remember is to check for hedge hogs and other small animals that may have used it as a shelter before lighting your bonfire.

More Advice is available at:

More information on burning waste is available here

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