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We receive many complaints about bonfires. A bonfire can prevent neighbours using their garden, opening windows or hanging washing. It can also adversely affect children, the elderly and people with medical conditions. In residential areas, our advice is to compost garden waste either at home along with cardboard, shredded paper and kitchen waste or by taking it to a household waste and recycling centre where it will go for composting.

Composting as an alternative to burning

Most garden or kitchen waste, cardboard and paper can be composted. When this is done properly it can produce an excellent soil conditioner and save money and protect the environment by reducing the demand for peat based commercial products.

For advice on composting see our composting section.

Recycle rather than burn your waste

There are recycling facilities throughout the Vale for items such as bottles, cans, paper, magazines and clothes.

For a small fee, we will dispose of larger items including furniture. Contact the Refuse Hotline on (01296) 585510. Or email:

Garden refuse and unwanted household items can be taken to household waste sites.

Domestic bonfires

There are no byelaws in place in Aylesbury Vale preventing the lighting of a bonfire from garden waste.  However, if you have frequent bonfires, burn items such as plastics, foam or paint or have a large bonfire going all day you are likely to be causing a smoke nuisance.  The Environmental Protection Act 1990 makes it an offence to cause a smoke nuisance to other residents.  We have a legal duty to ensure a nuisance is abated.

Guidelines for lighting a bonfire

  • Only burn dry material.
  • Never burn household rubbish, tyres or anything containing plastic, foam or paint.
  • Never use engine oil, methylated spirit, petrol or paraffin to light the fire.
  • Don’t light a fire on damp or dull days and in the evenings when smoke will hang in the air.
  • Avoid burning if the wind will carry smoke over roads or other properties.
  • Don’t burn at weekends and Bank Holidays when people want to enjoy their gardens.
  • Avoid burning when the air quality is ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ (check this by calling (0800) 556677.
  • Never leave a fire unattended.
  • Do not light a fire close to buildings, trees or anything that could catch light.
  • Ensure your fire is fully out before you leave it. You can do this by pouring water on it.
  • If your bonfire gets out of control call 999 and ask for the fire brigade.

To report a problem you have with a neigbour's bonfire in Aylesbury Vale, please click here to complete our form.

Date Updated: 16/12/11


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Contact information


01296 585605