Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Updates on council services, health advice, and support available for residents and businesses.

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Report disturbance by bonfire or other smoke

COVID-19 - lighting of bonfires

Please note: At this time of national emergency, it is important that we all take extra care not to disturb our neighbours or jeopardise their health. Many are self isolating with serious respiratory conditions, or are compelled to stay in or work from home. It is for this reason that we ask all Swindon residents to think extremely carefully before lighting bonfires of any kind.

Environmental Health Officers are taking a more proactive approach in investigating such disturbances or nuisances in order to protect our vulnerable residents. It is against the law to burn household waste, treated timber and plastics so for further advice on how to store and/or dispose of waste during this period, visit the following:

If your neighbour has bonfires on a regular basis, you may wish to print the bonfire advice leaflet and post it through their door before raising a request for service.

There are no laws to say that a bonfire or other burning device may only be lit at certain times. A bonfire may be lit at any time. However, too much smoke can be a nuisance and our Environmental Health Officers can take a proactive approach to control this.

We may be able to investigate the following:

  • Visible and significant smoke
  • Regular or persisitent smoke appearing over a period of time

We cannot generally respond to the following:

  • A smell of smoke unless the odour of smoke is regularly and/or persistently coming from commercial premises

Commercial waste smoke

Waste from commercial premises should never be burned, unless covered by a formal exemption from the Environment Agency (EA).

Waste exemptions and permits may be checked on the EA webpages below:

Keeping a record of visible smoke disturbance

You will need to complete a record of the smoke disturbance and how it affects you. An information and diary sheets pack to record your issues is available to download below:

You should follow the instructions in the pack, and complete the diary sheets for a period of three weeks before submitting your complaint using the online form below. We cannot investigate your complaint without these. We will also need to witness the smoke nuisance for ourselves, and this will mean visiting your home.

Resolving the problem yourself

In most cases, talking to your neighbour or the business involved will resolve the problem. In a small number of cases however, we may need to serve formal warnings or notices, or carry out more serious actions. You may be asked to be a witness in these investigations and this may take a number of weeks or months to complete.

Report a smoke or bonfire disturbance

If you have already tried to resolve the issue yourself and have completed diary sheets for a period of at least three weeks, you should complete and submit the following online form and upload your completed documents: 

Report a smoke or bonfire disturbance

Once we have received all the relevant information, we will contact you within 5 working days.  

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