Report a bonfire problem
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.
You can get rid of household or garden waste by composting or storing it. Bin collections in Sandwell are free for residential properties. Household rubbish is collected weekly and garden waste is collected fortnightly.
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 the MySandwell website.
Please be aware we have no power to deal with one-off or occasional bonfires.
A bonfire must happen frequently to be considered a nuisance. We can issue an 'abatement notice' if a neighbour's bonfire is causing a nuisance.
The Council can provide the complainant with an evidence monitoring form which is the evidence for a potential statutory nuisance legal case, and can send a warning letter to the accused property informing them a complaint has been made, the rules around garden bonfires and the potential legal action they may face.
Majority of bonfires stop after receipt of this letter.
Your neighbour can be fined up to £5,000 if they don't stick to the notice.
If you are worried that a fire is dangerous please call the fire service by dialling 999.