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 recycling centres for household waste; or if it is lots of garden waste to think about home composting.

Residents who pay their council tax to Rochford District Council can take their domestic 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 contact Essex Recycling Helpline on 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 you waste and then fly-tip it, instead of disposing of it properly. To check if someone is registered, please see the Environment Agency website under Related Content.

For advice about bonfires please see our ‘Bonfires and Smoke’ and ‘Dark Smoke’ leaflets (which you can view or download in Related Content) these explain the law and give advice on how to avoid causing a nuisance.

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

In most circumstances the problem can easily be resolved by politely telling the person about it, if they do not know it is a problem then they cannot deal with it. If the problem continues, you can register your complaint with us.

You can do this by completing our on-line form ‘make a complaint about a bonfire’

If you require any further advice you may contact us by phone on 01702 318111 and ask for Environmental Health, or contact customer services

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 about taking your own action is provided in our booklet called ‘Statutory nuisance –taking your own private action’ which can be downloaded from the documents below.

Bonfires connected with commercial, business or trade

Commercial, business or trade premises are not allowed to burn their waste, and this includes builders waste from the demolition or refurbishment of a property or even 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 materials produced on your own land, such as log/branches from fallen trees; untreated timber from fencing; the exemption does not allow waste to be brought on to the land for the purpose of burning. D7 registration is free, to apply, or for more information from the Environment Agency, please see the link called ‘Agricultural Bonfires and burning’ in the Related Content.

Smoke Control Zones & Smoke from chimneys, flues, wood-burners

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

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

But if are thinking of having an open fire in your home, or a wood burning stove, or you already use one, please see read the leaflet called ‘open fires and wood burning stoves’ which is in the Related Content, as these can affect air quality.  

For more information from the government about Smoke control zones please see Related Content for a link about Smoke control zone, in addition there is also a link providing information on chimney heights, and a document providing advice about the use of coal and wood for home heating.