There are no laws which prohibit garden bonfires, or when they can be lit. However, there are laws around the problems they may cause and the burning of certain materials.

If you are concerned about smoke from a building or smoke causing poor visibility on a highway, contact the Fire Service and Police (999).

For general bonfire guidance visit Icon for pdf GOV.UK - Bonfire Guidance [74.63KB] or take a look at Icon for pdf Factsheet 43 - Garden Bonfires Advice [65.95KB]

Types of bonfire and smoke problems

Bonfire and smoke may be considered a problem if the following are happening:

Dark smoke from domestic waste bonfires

It is an offence to burn household waste which creates dark smoke, this includes rubber, painted/treated wood, furniture, tyres and plastic.

To find out how to get rid of household waste correctly see our recycling section.

Burning a bonfire safely

We provide a service for collecting garden waste; therefore it is not usually necessary to burn a bonfire. However, If you are planning on having a garden bonfire, see the Fire Services - Bonfire safety advice page for information. Also, see the new Gov.uk - Celebrating bonfire night guide.

Industrial chimneys

It is an offence to release dark smoke from any chimney serving a furnace or boiler on trade or industrial premises.

You are not allowed to release any smoke from any chimney serving a furnace or boiler on a trade or industrial premises unless your chimney height has been approved.

For more information read our Icon for pdf control of chimney heights factsheet [48.74KB].

Danger to traffic by smoke

It is an offence to let smoke drift across the road and become a danger to traffic.

Please note: If you are concerned about smoke from a building or smoke causing poor visibility on a highway, contact the Fire Service and Police.

Smoke control areas (SCA's)

In order to improve local air quality certain areas of Preston have been designated SCA.

It is an offence to burn any fuel in a fireplace within a SCA unless it is a special smokeless fuel or the fireplace is specifically exempted by law. To find out where SCA's are in Preston, see Icon for pdf smoke control areas in Preston [1.37MB].

For information about smokeless fuels and exempted fireplaces see the DEFRA -smoke control.

How to report a problem

To report a bonfire or smoke problem complete the following online form:

Report a bonfire or smoke problem

What happens after a problem has been reported?

If a reported problem is considered a concern by the council, we can issue an abatement order. This will state the problem and what is needed to resolve it. Penalties of up to £5,000 for domestic problems and £20,000 for commercial problems can be issued to those who do not comply with the notice.