Bonfires

Environmental Health deals with complaints about smoke from bonfires.

We try to encourage our residents not to burn their waste but make use of our recycling collection or use the household waste recycling sites; or it is lots of garden waste to think about composting it at home.

Residents who pay their council tax to Rochford District Council can take their household waste to the recycling centre which is in Castle Road in Rayleigh free of charge. This site is run by Essex County Council. For more information and opening times please phone the Essex Recycling Helpline 0345 603 7625

If you are going to get someone to collect your waste, you must make sure that they are licensed. Sometimes people will charge you to collect your waste and then dump it instead of getting rid of it properly. You can find out if a person or business is licensed by checking the Environment Agency Register of Waste carriers

What should you do if you are having problems with smoke from a bonfire?

A one-off domestic bonfire is not something we can investigate as a statutory nuisance.

In most cases the problem can be resolved by politely telling the person about it, if they do not know it is a problem, they cannot deal with it. If after a reasonable amount of time nothing has been done to solve the problem, you can make a complaint to us.

You can do this on-line by completing the make a complaint about a bonfire form

If you want further advice you can contact us by using the contact customer services form

Do I have to wait for the council to investigate my complaint?

No - You can take your own private legal action. Taking your own legal action may be quicker than our investigation, but you may have to pay legal costs. Advice on how to take your own action is given in our booklet called ‘Statutory nuisance –taking your own private action’ this can be downloaded from the related content.

Bonfires from commercial, business or trade

Commercial, business or trade premises are not allowed to burn their waste. This includes builders waste from the demolition or refurbishment of a property.

For more information please see our Commercial bonfires information sheet in the related content.

Burning waste on agricultural land- advice to Farmers

If you are a farmer that wants to burn waste produced on your land, you need to apply for an exemption certificate issued by the Environment Agency. The certificate called a D7 – ‘Burning waste in the open’ Exemption, covers the burning of waste produced on your own land, such as logs or branches from fallen trees, or untreated timber from fencing. The exemption does not allow waste to be brought on to the land to burn.

Registration is free. To apply or for more information please visit

Environment Agency D7 Exemption application

Smoke Control Zones & Smoke from chimneys, flues, wood-burning stoves

Rochford District Council has not declared any part of our district as a smoke control zone.

More information from the government about Smoke Control Zones

If you are thinking of having an open fire or wood burning stove in your home or you already use one, please read the leaflet called ‘open fires and wood burning stoves’ which is in the related content, because these can affect air quality., 

You should also think about whether you need planning permission for the flue, and make sure it is properly fitted and meets Building Regulations Chimneys Flues and Vent Pipes

There is also an advice leaflet about using wood burners and open fires for heating your home in the related content.