What is the law on bonfires? 

There are no official time restrictions for lighting bonfires, but we will investigate complaints if smoke becomes a nuisance.

By lighting a smoky bonfire you could be breaking the law. Anyone lighting a fire and allowing smoke to drift across a road faces a fine of up to £2,000 under the Highways (amendment) Act 1986.

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 it is an offence for smoke to be emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance - the maximum penalty is £5,000. Business premises are liable for a fine of up to £20,000 if they persist after a notice has been served.

All business owners have a statutory duty to dispose of their waste through a licensed waste carrier.

How to complain about a bonfire

If someone is causing a nuisance by lighting a bonfire at an inconvenient time you should first try to talk to them. They may be unaware that their activities are causing a problem and disturbing others. If there is a persistent nuisance that you are unable to resolve informally, you can call us on 01442 228000 or email


Compost your kitchen and garden waste at home. Over time, it will break down and become a rich soil improver for your garden. Visit our home composting page for more information.

You can also put garden waste in your green-lidded wheeled bin, as part of our waste collection service. Please note: green-lidded wheeled bins are not collected between December and February. Read more about the items you can put in the green-lidded wheeled bin.

Garden waste can also be taken to the Household Waste Recycling Centres (tips/dumps) on Eastman Way in Hemel Hempstead or Northbridge Road in Berkhamsted. For more information on HWRCs, including opening hours and accepted materials, visit Hertfordshire County Council's website.

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