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Smoke from garden bonfires

Garden bonfire

Many people assume that there are specific bye-laws to prohibit bonfires. There aren't. If used sensitively, the occasional bonfire or barbecue should not cause a major problem and an outright ban would be unreasonable and difficult to enforce.

However if a neighbour is causing a nuisance by burning rubbish, the law is on your side. If you are going to have a bonfire, its only fair to warn your neighbours, they are much less likely to complain if you do. 

Where to find help

  • Email:
  • Telephone: 0300 123 7 038 and ask to be put through to the Consumer Protection and Investigations Team for your area
  • By post: Consumer Protection and Investigations Team, Regulatory Services, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Wyvern House, The Drumber, Winsford, CW7 1AH

Good bonfire guidelines

If you do have a bonfire, follow these guidelines:

  • only burn dry material
  • never burn household rubbish, rubber tyres, or anything containing plastic, foam or paint
  • never use old engine oil, meths or petrol to light the fire or to encourage it
  • avoid lighting a fire in unsuitable weather conditions - when it is windy, cold, calm days and in the evening 
  • avoid burning at weekends and on bank holidays when people want to enjoy their gardens
  • avoid burning when the air pollution in your area is 'high' or 'very high' 
  • never leave a fire unattended or leave it to smoulder - douse it with water if necessary


There are far less environmentally damaging alternatives to bonfires available such as composting and recycling. Further information can be gained from visiting the websites shown below.

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