SHBC has requested residents not to have bonfires, as they can release smoke, odour and ash, and cause neighbour disputes. 
Whilst it isn't illegal, a bonfire may well cause a nuisance and that can be an offence. SHBC will not hesitate to use the statutory powers to issue notices to cease which if not followed could be subject to financial penalty.

Environmental Heath is responsible for investigating complaints about nuisance caused by smoke from both commercial and domestic bonfires.

There is no legislation that prevents people having bonfires. There is also no time constraint on bonfires.

It is preferred that people do not have bonfires, as garden waste can be composted, or residents can join the Garden Waste Collection Service.

For more information on composting, please visit the Surrey Environment Partnership website.

However if the smoke from a bonfire is causing a nuisance then we can take action. Action can range from informal approach to the person having the fire through to the service of an abatement notice which if not complied with could lead to a fine of up to £5000 (£20,000 if it is from a commercial operation)

A nuisance is caused when smoke detracts from people enjoying their gardens, prevents them opening windows or hanging out washing or obscures visibility in the area or on roads.

Report a bonfire problem to

If someone is considering having a bonfire then the following must be taken into account:

  • Burn only dry material - this limits the risk of smoke nuisance
  • Do not burn household rubbish
  • Do not burn rubber tyres
  • Do not use petrol or oil to light a fire
  • Do not light a fire in unsuitable weather conditions - smoke hangs in the air on damp, still days and in the evening
  • Never burn when the wind will carry smoke over roads or other peoples property. You could be liable for injury or damage caused
  • Avoid burning at weekends and on bank holidays when your neighbours have a right to enjoy their gardens,
  • Never leave a fire unattended or leave it to smoulder - douse it with water if necessary.

Bonfire information