Legal control on garden bonfires

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 - Part III identifies certain matters as statutory nuisances. These include:

  • noise
  • accumulations or deposits
  • dust
  • smoke
  • odour.

The team investigates complaints involving allegations of nuisance and takes appropriate action.

Nuisance is difficult to define but as a general rule, it can be thought of as an unlawful interference of the use or enjoyment of premises. 

If officers are satisfied that a complaint of statutory nuisance is justified, an abatement notice will be served upon the person responsible, occupier or owner of the premises (as appropriate) requiring that the nuisance be stopped. Failure to comply with an Abatement Notice is an offence and legal proceedings may result. 

The act applies to all premises.

Abatement notices

An officer may serve an abatement notice if they are satisfied that there is a statutory nuisance. This includes:

  • smoke emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance
  • fumes or gases emitted so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance
  • smell arising on industrial, trade or business premises and being prejudicial to health or a nuisance

You could be liable to the following fines if you do not comply with an abatement notice:

  • industrial or commercial premises - a criminal conviction and an unlimited fine
  • domestic premises - a criminal conviction and a fine up to £5,000