Smoke control and bonfires
Every year the council's Environmental Health Services receives a large number of complaints about bonfire nuisance. The smoke can be particularly distressing to young children and asthmatics. Such nuisance need never arise if due consideration is shown to neighbours.
As a result of the thousands of deaths attributed to the air pollution smogs of the early 1950s, the Clean Air Act 1956 was passed. This enabled all of Harrow to become a "smoke control area". This means that all fuel used in your home must be "smokeless" such as gas, electricity, oil or coke-type fuel. It is illegal to emit smoke from your chimney by burning wood, ordinary coal, etc. However, this piece of law does not apply to outdoor bonfires.
Section 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 allows the Local Authority to take action possibly resulting in legal proceedings if a bonfire causes a nuisance to neighbours (i.e. have an unreasonable effect on enjoyment of their home or garden).
We do not recommend any garden bonfires, however, if you do have one it should consist of dry woody garden waste only, and consideration must be shown for neighbours, and not be on a regular basis.
Download domestic bonfires fact sheet
For today's pollution forecast for the UK, please visit London Air Quality Network website or the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) website.
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