One upside of the UK weather is that plants love it! All the rain brings regular growth and keeps gardens green all year round. Believe it or not, it’s actually one of the easiest places to grow lawn in the world! But all the growth brings lost of garden waste, which takes up space and can be a real pain in the A. Well here’s a bright idea – burn it! But wait, can you burn garden waste in the UK?
Will the council allow it? Will I get a fine? What about my neighbours? Is it safe? We’re here to highlight the facts and fallacies about bonfires and burning organic waste in the UK.
Can You Burn Garden Waste In The UK – The Truth Revealed
Table of Contents
- Can You Burn Garden Waste In The UK – The Truth Revealed
- Can You Burn Garden Waste In The UK FAQ
Yes! It’s perfectly legal to burn garden waste in the UK. However, as with all things legal related, it’s a little complicated. Having a bonfire or using a burner bin is fine, but you can’t cause a disturbance to your neighbours otherwise you may find yourself in trouble with the local council.
Heat, smoke, ash and embers are your challenge here. However, as long as your neighbours won’t be disturbed or have been informed and approved the burning, all you need to worry about now is safety. Fire is a powerful element, and if you don’t take care it very quickly get out of control. Follow these basic guidelines to have a happy and safe bonfire!
- Burn only dry and non-toxic waste, do not burn general rubbish, plastics, foams, or treated wood
- Notify neighbours of a bonfire to prevent undue alarm, and give them a chance to remove laundry that might be out to dry or any other fire hazards or issues
- Put safety first, and keep liquid on hand to put the fire out if the flames spread.
- Avoid using petrol or other highly flammable substances to start the fire
- If you have prepared a stack of garden waste for burning, be sure to check for hedgehogs and other wildlife before you set it alight.
According to zero waste & green living blogger Antonia Ko, anything that could decompose you should consider composting to later fertilize the garden with. Alternatively, you can spread the ashes from your bonfire back over the garden or your lawn to return elements to the soil.
Can You Burn Garden Waste In The UK FAQ
Can I Have A Bonfire In My Garden?
You can have a bonfire in your garden, but you must not disrupt your neighbours. This means restricting the waste so as not to produce toxic smoke, and situating the fire where smoke will not waft on to neighbour’s property. (Especially if they have just hung the washing out!)
Is It Legal To Burn Garden Waste?
It is legal to have a bonfire in your garden, but there are laws against causing a nuisance to your neighbours.
Are Ashes Good For The Garden?
Bonfire ashes can be useful in the compost pile, adding lime, potassium and trace elements. It can also be dug directly into the ground to remedy acidic soils.
Can You Have A Bonfire During The Day?
Theoretically you can light your bonfire at any time of the day or night, but lighting up at night might not be the most considerate move, unless you live in an isolated location. Early morning or evening are typically the best times to burn garden waste to minimise potential disruption to neighbours.
What Is Bonfire Night In The UK?
Bonfire Night is another name for Guy Fawkes Day. It celebrates a failed attack by Catholic zealots on Parliament in 1605, which then upheld Protestant rule. It’s an odd thing to celebrate, but in modern times the event is recalled as a key step towards democracy.
Bonfire Night is therefore a celebration of democracy, free speech and civil rights and is a united showing of the patriotic spirit of Great Britain. It’s even celebrated outside of Britain! So not only are bonfire’s legal, they are also strongly ingrained in our culture!
Is It Possible To Have A Smokeless Bonfire?
If smoke from your bonfire wafts away over the fence or into a road, it can cause significant danger. Or if a vulnerable neighbour inhales toxic smoke from your inferno, you could be to blame. A smokeless bonfire would be perfect, but sadly they don’t exist.
You do have an option though. The best way to minimise smoke and control fire is to use an incinerator bin. These simple devices reduce smoke and make your bonfire much safer. You still get the warmth and an open flame, it’s just a little wild!
How Can I Make A Bonfire Without Ruining The Ground?
Don’t have a bonfire on your lawn. Ideally, place a bonfire on a patch of bare earth, or use an incinerator placed on a hard surface.