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Report a bonfire problem

Smoke from bonfires contribute to air pollution. It can also stop neighbouring residents enjoying their garden, hanging out washing or even opening their windows.

Burning your rubbish is the worst way to get rid of it. Bonfires release toxic chemicals such as carbon monoxide, dioxins and hydrocarbons into the air.

Burning plastic, rubber, painted materials and treated wood can create carcinogenic compounds including arsenic, benzene, chlorine compounds as well as metals such as lead and cadmium that pollute the air and contaminate the soil.

What about fires for special celebrations, such as Bonfire Night, Passover and Lohri?

You should always try to attend an organised event rather than having an individual bonfire. We will not normally take formal action in relation to bonfires held for religious or cultural celebrations, unless they cause a particular nuisance. Please note we provide special refuse collection arrangements for Passover.

What can you do if a bonfire is causing a nuisance?

In the first instance talk to the person who started the fire, explain your concerns and ask them to put it out.

If they refuse put it out and the fire continues to cause a nuisance, contact us on 020 8356 4455 or email

Report a bonfire problem

What can the Council do?

If the fire is still burning, we will visit the site to see whether it is causing or is likely to cause a statutory nuisance.

If it is causing a nuisance, we can serve an abatement notice under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Failure to comply with a notice can lead to prosecution and fines up to £5,000.

If the bonfire is on an industrial, commercial or construction site, it may be an offence under the Clean Air Act 1993, which could lead to prosecution and fines up to £20,000. You can also take your own direct action under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 by placing a complaint in the magistrates court.

Other ways to dispose of garden rubbish and other unwanted items

  • composting is the best way of getting rid of garden rubbish or shredded wood – it’s great for your garden too
  • the brown bin scheme is for street level properties in the borough – a fortnightly collection of garden rubbish
  • our free bulky waste service is available for all Hackney residents. We will collect up to 5 large items, 4 times a year, including furniture, electrical goods as well as wood, garden rubbish and cardboard packaging
Page updated on: 8 July 2019

Pollution Control


PO Box 70210
E8 9FB

Opening times

  • Mon to Wed, 9am - 5pm Thur, 9am - 5pm and out of hours service, 6.30pm - 2am, Fri, 9am - 5pm and out of hours service, 9pm - 5am, Sat out of hours service, 9pm - 5am, Sun out of hours service, 6.30pm - 2am