Smoke Issues

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Update - During the current pandemic when more people are at home, we are recommending that no one has a bonfire.

With more people at home and COVID-19 increasing the susceptibility of people to smoke due to respiratory illness, there is a high probability neighbours will be adversely affected if you have a bonfire. If you are affected by bonfire smoke, we advise that you talk to your neighbours, while maintaining social distancing, as they may not be aware of the impact it is having on you. If this approach fails, you can contact us, and we will attempt to resolve the matter informally. Whilst we hope that common sense will prevail, please note that the Council can issue Fixed Penalty Notices (£100) in situations where people continue to burn despite being asked to stop.

Report a Smoke Issue

Report smoke problems

Smoke from neighbours

Bonfires or other activities that cause smoke are not illegal, but they must not cause a statutory smoke nuisance to neighbouring residents.

If complaints are received about regular bonfires or excessive smoke from an address, then we can investigate, and take legal action where needed.

Additionally, under the Clean Air Act 1993 it is an offence to burn any waste that gives rise to dark smoke. Each offence that is witnessed by an officer can carry a fine of up to £20,000. 

For information on disposing of waste and recycling please visit our waste and recycling page.

While we can investigate commercial companies for statutory smoke nuisance, the burning of commercial waste is also regulated by the Environment Agency under the Waste Management Licencing Regulations 1994. The Environment Agency ask that reports be sent to them via Crimestoppers.

If you are concerned that a bonfire is out of control, please contact West Sussex Fire and Rescue.

Under the Highways Act 1980, it is illegal to allow smoke to endanger the driving visibility of a highway. If this happens, please contact Sussex Police.

Please read our bonfire information leaflet for further information and advice on bonfires including composting and recycling.

Contact Us

Environmental Protection Team
Tel: 01444-477292

Last updated: 27 September 2021