Allotment bonfires

Bonfires have been a traditional way of disposing of rubbish from allotment plots, but they often cause a nuisance to neighbours from smoke, smells and smuts. They also contribute to air pollution.

The problems

Bonfires can be very annoying to neighbours, usually from smoke or smell, which prevents them from enjoying their garden, opening their windows or hanging out washing and can be especially problematic to those with asthma or chest conditions. Bonfires can also cause a hazard to road users by reducing visibility or cause fire hazards if they are close to trees or fences, especially if left unattended.

Allotment bonfire guidelines

In line with your agreement, allotment tenants are only permitted to have a bonfire on the allotment site between 1 October and 31 March annually.

Should you decide to have a bonfire, please follow these guidelines:

  • light your bonfire at an appropriate time of day with weather conditions that will cause minimal inconvenience to your neighbours. Avoid weekends and bank holidays
  • do not light a bonfire if your neighbours have washing out to dry, windows open or are enjoying their gardens
  • do choose your bonfire site carefully - away from trees, fences, sheds and windows
  • always have a bucket of water or soil on hand just in case
  • burn only dry, clean materials and avoid burning damp grass clippings or green matter, as this creates thick smoke
  • do not burn materials other than those generated through allotment gardening, especially plastic pots, excess building materials or household rubbish
  • wherever possible, compost as much garden waste as you can
  • do not leave your fire to smoulder for long periods or unattended
  • do burn material quickly in small quantities in order to minimise the amount of smoke created - feed the fire little and often
  • do rake the ashes when cold and use them as fertiliser on your plots
  • always ensure the fire is out before leaving the allotment site

Bonfire enquiries

Contact us if you have an allotment bonfire enquiry.


What are the alternatives?

You can take your garden rubbish to one of Bexley’s reuse and recycling centres, free of charge to Bexley residents.

Alternatively, garden waste collection service subscribers can dispose of their allotment rubbish in their brown wheelie bin.

If your bonfire is deemed to cause a statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, a notice may be served and could lead to a fine of up to £5000 and potential termination of your allotment plot.