Neighbours sometimes having a bonfire in the garden can be a common enough occurrence depending on who you live next to, but are they actually allowed to do it?

The smoke from bonfires can be an issue to deal with, and especially in the summer months can make it unpleasant to be in your own garden if you want to enjoy the warmer weather.

Here's all you need to know on where you legally stand with neighbours having bonfires in their gardens and if you can make a complaint about it.

Can my neighbour have a bonfire in their garden?

Bonfires in a garden are not illegal but if the smoke is causing an annoyance to others complaints can be made to the local council.

According to the Government website, there are laws about burning certain types of waste and preventing bonfires from causing a nuisance.

It adds: "Your council has a responsibility to investigate complaints of smoke and fumes that could be a ‘statutory nuisance’."

For the smoke from the bonfire to count as a 'statutory nuisance' it must:

  • unreasonably and substantially interfere with the use or enjoyment of a home or other premises
  • injure health or be likely to injure health

Smoke complaints are assessed by environmental health officers from the council to determine this.

They can look at the amount of smoke, how often it happens, for how long and how unreasonable the activity is.

The Government website adds: "They can issue an ‘abatement notice’ if a neighbour’s bonfire is causing a nuisance.

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"Your neighbour can be fined if they do not follow the rules of the abatement notice."

An abatement notice requires whoever’s responsible to stop or restrict the smoke.

This will usually be served on the person responsible but can also be served on the owner or occupier of the premises.