Public Health


What's Wrong with Bonfires?

Air Pollution

Burning garden waste produces smoke especially if it is damp and smouldering. This will contain pollutants including carbon monoxide, dioxins and particles. Burning plastic, rubber or painted materials not only creates an unpleasant smell but also produces a range of poisonous compounds.

Health Effects

Emissions from bonfires can have damaging health effects. Serious harm is unlikely if exposure to bonfire smoke is brief. However problems maybe caused for asthmatics, bronchitis sufferers, people with heart conditions and children.


The smoke, smuts and smell from bonfires are the subject of many complaints to local authorities. Smoke prevents your neighbours from enjoying their gardens, opening windows or hanging washing out, and reduces visibility in the neighbourhood and on roads. Allotments near homes can cause particular problems, if plot holders persistently burn waste.


Fire can spread to fences or buildings and scorch trees and plants. Exploding bottles and cans are a hazard when rubbish is burned. Piles of garden waste are often used as a refuge by animals, so look out for hibernating wildlife and sleeping pets.

Report a Bonfire Problem (opens in a new tab)   

If the bonfire is dangerous call the Fire Brigade/Police on 999. DO NOT complete this form.

What's the Alternative?


Rather than burning garden waste, woody waste can be shredded to make it suitable for composting or mulching. 

Garden Waste Service

Pembrokeshire County Council offers a fortnightly, subscription only, Garden Waste collection using wheeled bins. The service will run between the week in which 1st March falls and the week in which 30th November falls, inclusive.

Subscribe to the Garden Waste Service 

Bulky Waste Service

The collection of bulky household items is undertaken on our behalf by Frame, a local charitable organisation.

Requests for this service can be made by completing the Bulky Household Waste Collection Form via 'My Account' your online Council account. 

Fly Tipping

Fly tipping is not only a blot on the landscape if set alight it can cause serious damage to property and the environment.

Report Fly Tipping (opens in a new tab) 

Bonfires and the Law

It is a common misconception that there are specific byelaws that prohibit garden bonfires or specify times they can be lit - there aren't. However, where a neighbour is causing a problem by burning rubbish the law is on your side. Under the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) 1990, a statutory nuisance includes ‘smoke, fumes or gases emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance'. In practice, to be considered a statutory nuisance, a bonfire would have to be a persistent problem, interfering substantially with your well being, comfort or enjoyment of your property. If a bonfire of industrial/commercial waste is emitting black smoke it is dealt with under the Clean Air Act 1993.

It bothered by smoke approach your neighbour and explain the problem. You might feel awkward, but they may not be aware of the distress that they are causing and it will hopefully make them more considerate in the future.

Bonfire Guidelines

When lighting a bonfire please follow the guidelines listed below to prevent causing problems with neighbours or causing a serious nuisance.

• 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 - smoke hangs in the air on damp still days and in the evening. If it is windy, smoke may be blown into neighbour's gardens and across roads.

• Avoid burning when air pollution in your area is high or very high. This information is included in weather forecasts, or you can check by ringing 0800 556677, or at Defra, UK (opens in a new tab)

• Never leave a fire unattended or leave it to smoulder - douse it with water if necessary.


ID: 2380, revised 21/11/2023