Please be considerate to others when lighting bonfires. We all need fresh air.
Bonfires can cause nuisance to other people and animals:
- by making asthma, bronchitis or other respiratory conditions worse
- by affecting visibility for drivers on nearby roads
- because fire can spread to nearby fences or buildings
- because piles of garden waste are often used by animals for shelter
There are no laws against having a bonfire, but there are laws against the nuisance they can cause. This can lead to legal action being taken against the person responsible for the fire.
Garden fires are dangerous and can get out of control.
Options for removing garden waste
If you live in Sandwell and would like to have your garden waste collected, you now need to subscribe and pay £35 a year.
To find out more about this service, including details of the items that can be included in your garden waste bin, please go to our garden waste page. If you only have a small amount of garden waste why not try composting at home.
Rules around burning waste
You must never burn household waste, rubber, petrol, damp material, engine oil or plastics. Please help keep the air clean for everyone. These items can be taken to the Household Recycling Centre (Tip).
If you would still like to have a bonfire:
- use dry material only
- avoid burning at weekends and bank holidays
- don't burn tyres, cables, plastics, rubber, painted products or household waste
- don't leave a fire unattended, even when it's just smouldering
- warn neighbours that you are going to have a bonfire
You can download this guidance to keep for yourself or share with others.
Danger to traffic by smoke
You could be fined if you light a fire and you allow the smoke to drift across the road and it becomes a danger to traffic.
If you notice smoke from a bonfire causing a danger to traffic, please contact the police.
Complain about a neighbour's bonfire
The first thing to do if bonfire smoke is bothering you is to speak to the owner of the bonfire yourself. A direct approach may be embarrassing, but if you can explain the problem it is causing they may be more considerate in the future. If this approach does not work, a complaint can be made to the Council, via your MySandwell account.
Please be aware we have no power to deal with one-off or occasional bonfires.
Bonfires that arise from the garden of a property on a frequent basis will be investigated as they are potentially creating a 'statutory nuisance' offence. In cases where it is deemed that bonfires are creating a 'statutory nuisance' we can issue an 'abatement notice'. Once a person has been issued with an 'abatement notice' they can be fined up to £5,000 should they continue to light further bonfires.
The Council will provide any person being impacted by a bonfire with an evidence monitoring form. Completion of this form is important for providing supporting evidence for any future formal action by the Council. The occupant or owner of the land on which the bonfires are being lit will also be informed that a complaint has been made and will also be advised about the rules relating to garden bonfires. They will also be informed of the potential legal action they may face should they continue to have bonfires that are having a negative impact on their neighbours. In most cases bonfires cease when those lighting them are made aware of the impact it is having on their neighbours and the rules that apply.
If you are worried that a fire is dangerous please call the fire service by dialling 999.