Bonfires: the issues and dangers

Outdoor burning takes many forms – from bonfires to barbeques. One thing they all share, is the risks associated with the smoke produced!


If burning outside, you must make sure to not

  • Burn waste which will cause air pollution or impact on the health of yourself or others, this includes treated wood, rubber, furniture and plastics.
  • Allow any smoke to blow across the road to interfere with traffic (covered by Section 161A of the Highways Act 1980).
  • Produce smoke which will interfere with the health of others or the use and enjoyment of their home (Covered by Section 79 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990).


If your neighbour is burning in a harmful or dangerous way, you can find further advice on Sefton Council’s website here.


Burning of any kind produces harmful particulates, you can reduce the harm by…

  • Only burn dry materials like dry wood and smokeless fuels, the same as if you were burning indoors.
  • Be considerate of your neighbours, avoid allowing smoke to drift into their homes or gardens.
  • Use your barbecues, pizza ovens and other appliances according to the manufacturers instructions.


And remember, never burn on our coastline! The entire Sefton coast is a specially protected area where fires are banned, this includes the beach, dunes and woodlands.


You can read more about outdoor burning in this handy information guide from DEFRA.