Do you want to know the answer to “Can I burn wood in my garden”? Check out this guide to learn more. Read our Review of the Best garden incinerator also.
A bonfire is a suitable way to get rid of garden waste. It’s advisable to compost different waste items if possible, but if you plan your fire carefully, the result will be carbon-neutral waste clearance.
Bonfires are not only for waste dumping, but it is also an exciting activity, and the combination of bonfires in the autumn is fantastic. Burning a garden waste or burning dry wood in your garden is a pleasure that is not only handy, but it is also from our prehistoric roots. We all want it to be a guilt-free activity that all family members can enjoy without any trouble.
Can I Burn Wood in My Garden
Here is our detailed guide about your question of can I burn wood in my garden with details about the laws and the practices :
Bonfire laws in the UK
The law regarding the bonfires in England and Wales is straightforward. The law is about any subsequent nuisance that can happen. The Government states that:
- You cannot remove or burn household waste if it causes environmental pollution or damages other people’s health.
- However, the legal standards are that any nuisance that happens regularly is regulated. This means:
- That a council can charge you with an ‘abatement notice’ if your bonfire is causing a nuisance to your neighbourhood, a bonfire that happens frequently is considered a problem.
- Penalty up to £5,000 if you don’t follow the notice mentioned above.
So, the occasional bonfire is not a problem provided there are no local bylaws in place that inhibit it, and you stand by the following points:
- One must ensure that the bonfire’s smoke should not blow across a road as it can cause danger to the traffic on the road.
- Similarly, never try to burn anything that can cause pollution or is harmful to public health—burning things such as plastic, rubber, old engine oil, and other things that tend to generate poisonous smokes and fumes. Burning these things will be harmful to your health and for the health of others around you. But most importantly, it is a criminal offence as well.
- Being said that, don’t do something without informing others. Tell your neighbours about your burning plans as it will give them enough time to complete their outside chores and shut their windows.
Laws on bonfires during the day
There are no special laws on bonfires in the day time. It is acceptable only if you do not burn polluting or harmful materials that can cause the smoke to blow on the road. If you are planning a bonfire in a residential area, be careful about the wind’s direction before starting the bonfire.
Bonfires in public places
If you want to have a bonfire in any public place, such as on the beach, there might be some restrictions. So, for exact laws, checkout with your local council before starting your bonfire. There are many laws regarding safety and a fire that causes a threat to other people or property. Damages due to reckless behaviour is a criminal offence under the UK’s Criminal Damage Act 1971. Ensure that there is no waste left when you’re finished.
Bonfire rules in the UK
Here some general rules and laws related to Bonfire in the UK.
- Keep in mind; you can only burn dry stuff and materials.
- Never try to burn domestic waste such as rubber tires or any other stuff that contains plastic, foam, or paint.
- Don’t use engine oil, spirits, or petrol to light the flames.
- Don’t burn the waste in adverse weather conditions.
- It is not advisable to burn the waste on weekends as most people like to relax in their gardens.
- If possible, update your neighbours about the burning of waste in your garden. So that they can shut their windows, bring in washing, etc.
- Don’t leave a burning fire sight unattended.
Disposal of waste
Depending on the stuff you are burning, try to save the rubbish items that can be recycled.
Moreover, household waste, damp wood and leaves, and paper items, plastics, and aerosols are dangerous when you are burning them, and they might cause various environmental and health issues.
Nowadays, burning garden waste is not compulsory, and most councils can dispose of it; however, they charge a small fee for this service.
Usually, dry burning green leaves generate massive smoke, so take it easy and feed the leaves in the fire slowly as a kind act of neighbourly consideration! Adding a few leaves as a fuel is a correct way to provide any fire. It’s straightforward to pile loads of wood in the fire, and suddenly you will find yourself in a raging inferno and probably a chap from the local authorities on your doorstep. After all, no one likes dozens of firefighters in their garden.
When the trash bins are loaded and can’t take more waste, lighting a bonfire in your garden to dump that waste can be tempting. Though it’s technically not an illegal act, one must be aware of specific laws and regulations regarding the same. Similarly, you must know what type of waste you can and cannot burn in your garden.
These laws and regulations ensure that you don’t put your and others’ safety in jeopardy. Bonfires can suddenly go wrong if not planned, and they produce harmful fumes, particles, and smoke that is dangerous for the environment and other creators. So, be cautious!
Can I Burn Rubbish in My Garden in the UK?
According to local authorities’ guidance, there are no specific laws that disallow you to burn waste and enjoy a bonfire in your garden. However, there are some rules and regulations that prevent bonfires and burning from causing trouble to neighbours, or they are safety hazards for humans and other creatures. Moreover, you cannot burn all stuff; there are somethings that you cannot burn in your garden.
Some rules that you must be aware of are as follow:
It is a criminal offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to dump or burn domestic waste in an inappropriate way that causes pollution to the environment or is dangerous to our health.
In simple words, you cannot burn the things that produce excessive smoke and dangerous fumes.
Similarly, under section 161A of the Highways Act 1980, if smoke from a fire drifts away across a road, it is not legal. And you might get penalized if the smoke poses a threat to traffic.
If bonfires are causing trouble or affect a person’s enjoyment on their property (like smoke and ash itinerant into their garden), then that bonfire will be a nuisance, and you might receive an ‘abatement notice.’ Failing to obey a notice could result in a fine of £5,000.
Is there any specific time to burn waste in My Garden?
There is no specific time of day to burn waste in your garden or to have a bonfire. Technically, you can do both whenever you want. However, we will advise you to do it early in the morning or early evening. In this way, your neighbors will be less affected.
Even if you prefer any other time, you must remain careful that your bonfire or burning fire must not cause a nuisance.
Discuss your plans with your neighbours; in this way, both of you can work accordingly and as per each other’s schedule. Prior notice to neighbours will give them enough time to complete their washing and avoid using their garden when burning the waste. Additionally, in case of any incident, your neighbours will not call 999 immediately.
What Type of Rubbish and Wood Can and Can’t I Burn in the UK?
Your bonfire should not be an environmental hazard or harmful for humans, so you cannot burn specific materials in your garden that generate excessive smoke and harmful fumes. These harmful particles produced by a burning fire can blowout and linger in the air, hence causing various health problems for others, such as triggering asthma.
Therefore, we will recommend you to follow these points:
- Only burn dry items, such as paper and dry wood.
- Burning household waste items such as plastic packaging and food should be avoided.
- Never burn plastic, polystyrene, aerosols, canisters, painted or damp wood, or paint as the fumes are harmful to humans as well as for pets and other wild animals.
- Never try to burn wet stuff, as this will produce massive smoke.
- You must not burn garden waste if it is green such as recent hedge or trimmings. This garden waste will generate massive smoke. On the other hand, many local councils offer particular bins to dump garden waste, so it is not suitable to burn it. However, you can burn the dry garden waste.
Some Tips for Having a Bonfire
For this purpose, below are some factors to consider and some vital steps that you must take:
- Ensure that you light up the fire away from buildings, sheds, fences, trees, hedges, overhead cables, and anything that could catch fire.
- Ensure that smoke is not drifted onto a nearby road.
- Never leave the burning fire unattended at any cost.
- Keep your kids and pets away from the burning fire. Keep them inside your house.
- A water hose or bucket full of water should be ready during the task. You can also use a fire extinguisher if you have one. These will be helpful if the fire gets out of control due to any reason.
- Start gradually, and don’t try to burn everything at the start. You can add more stuff and waste to the fire when everything is under control.
- Pay attention to the wind direction and flow.
- Care for animals and other creatures who hide or take shelter in loads of garden waste.
- Ensure you extinguish the fire completely and never leave the fire smoldering, as it can start again. You can use water or soil to douse off any remaining.
- If you think that fire is out of your control, try to put it off or call the concerned authorities immediately.
Should I Inform Anyone About My Activity?
There are no legal requirements to inform anyone about a bonfire. However, as advised above, be caring and let your neighbors know about your plans. If you want to play it safer, you can also inform your local authorities before on any non-emergency number. In this way, they will remain alert about the fire. Informing the local authorities before your activity will ensure that there are no unnecessary call outs.
For example, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service states that one should inform them in advance when you are planning to have a bonfire in your garden or on any other place. This includes any type of fire on your garden, farmland, or stubble burning. You must notify the West Yorkshire authorities about the fire’s location, timings of your activity, and your contact number.
Are there any other alternatives to burning rubbish or wood in my garden?
As several materials are risky to burn so must be aware of other methods that you can use to get rid of your garden waste. Here they are:
You can acquire council bins and waste collection services.
Burning the waste in a garden looks tempting, but it is not as tempting as people think. The fact is, it is among the most dangerous tasks. As an alternate, you can use general waste and recycling bins and garden waste bin, and food waste bin if possible. Even during the tough times of COVID-19, council waste collections were working as usual. If you can acquire their services, then there is no need to burn the waste in your garden.
Brown garden waste wheelie bin
In some areas, the local council provides large waste item collection services such as old furniture. So check out the authorities’ official website and find out what they are offering before you start to burn the wood or waste. Similarly, many private companies offer this service in the UK. So, you can call them and view their home waste collection services. If you can afford a private collection company services, ensure that the company has a waste carrier’s license.
You can use a Shredder for Garden Waste.
If you cannot see your favorite tree’s trimming or it is too large to fit into your garden waste bin, you can buy a garden waste chipper or shredder for this purpose. This will allow you to put more waste into the waste bin, and you can comfortably keep it out of your home in a bag. It also lets you dry it quickly and burn it safely. Lastly, you can again reuse it in your garden or while composting.
Start Composting Food and Garden Shredding
Burning household waste, such as food, is not advised nor recommended. So, if you don’t want to put it in your general bin, think about composting the waste. This will act as a fertilizer for your garden, and you will not have to buy it separately. You can also use shredded garden waste for this purpose.
Though a bonfire with friends or burning wood in your garden looks like a quick, easy, and the suitable way to dispose of the waste, but there are some rules in place that you must follow, or else it will be referred to as a nuisance or posing risks.
Make sure you adhere to the guidelines and rules that we have mentioned above. Besides, check out the rules and regulations set out by your local authorities if you are planning to burn a garden waste or wood in your garden. Whatever you are planning to do, be cautious, stay safe, and sensible. Hopefully, you must have gotten the answer to your question of can I burn wood in my garden.