Bonfires and Dark Smoke

Environmental Health deals with complaints about smoke from bonfires and manure heaps.

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 registered and licensed to do so. Sometimes people will charge you to collect your waste and then dump it instead of getting rid of it properly. To check if someone is registered, please visit the Environment Agency website in the related content.

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

In most cases the problem can be resolved by politely telling the person about it. They may not realise they are causing you a problem. 

If the problem continues you can make a complaint to us by completing our form  ‘make a complaint about a bonfire

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 that are 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, or from land clearance in preparation to build. For more information please see our Commercial bonfires information sheet in the related content.

Burning waste on agricultural land- advice to Farmers

Under the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010, 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; untreated timber from fencing. The exemption does not allow waste to be brought on to the land to burn.

D7 registration is free. To apply for this or for more information please visit the Environment Agency website, we have provided the link which is called ‘Agricultural Bonfires and burning’ in the related content.

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

Under the Clean Air Act, we can make all or part of our District a smoke control zone. This would mean it would be against the law to produce smoke from a chimney, from a furnace, or from any fixed boiler; or to buy an unauthorised fuel. (For more information from the government about Smoke control zones please see the related content link called Smoke control zones).   

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

If you are thinking of having an open fire or wood burning stove in your home 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. 

For more information from the government about Smoke control zones please see the link about Smoke Control zones in the related content section.

There is also a link to a website giving advice on the height of chimneys, and a leaflet about using coal or wood for heating your home.