Bonfires

Disposing of your waste without having a bonfire

Domestic garden waste

  • You can take your domestic garden and wood waste to be recycled for free at the Re3 civic amenity site, you must book a time slot before attending – see http://www.re3.org.uk/
  • You can order a green bin or bag from the Council so your green waste can be collected from your doorstep and recycled – order via 0118 937 3787 or online via http://www.reading.gov.uk/rubbish
  • Many types of garden waste can be composted, and the compost will produce a useful soil conditioner

Other domestic waste

  • If your waste won’t fit into your bin you can book a bulky waste collection by calling 0118 937 3787. This service is also available for landlords. More information can be found at http://www.reading.gov.uk/rubbish

Commercial waste

  • You can arrange for a licensed waste carrier to take it for you, where they are obliged to give you receipts for the waste they have taken on your behalf
  • You can take your own waste to a licensed trade waste disposal site (e.g. Re3 civic amenity site) where you can pay for the disposal yourself and obtain a receipt

Bonfires and the Law

There is no one law which prohibits bonfires, but one or more of the following is likely to apply:

Statutory nuisance (Environmental Protection Act 1990 Part III s79)

The smoke from bonfires may be a statutory nuisance, particularly in a densely populated town like Reading. If a nuisance is proven then the Council can serve an abatement notice to prevent it from occurring. Whether smoke is a nuisance depends on:

  • Frequency and duration
  • What is being burned (e.g. plastics, paints, treated wood, mattresses, sofas)
  • Colour of smoke (black, grey, white, clear)
  • Description of odour (acrid etc)
  • Effect of smoke (eyes water, hard to breathe, can’t dry clothes, can’t use garden, need to keep windows closed, ash and dust residues etc.)

Anti-social behaviour (Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014)

Having bonfires may be classed as anti-social behaviour if they have a detrimental and persistent effect on the quality of life of people in the area.

Prohibition on harmful disposal of waste (Environmental Protection Act 1990 Part II s33)

It is an offence to dispose of waste in a manner likely to cause pollution, or harm to human health. This includes burning of domestic waste, although it may be more difficult to prove this if only garden waste is being burnt.

Commercial waste (Environmental Protection Act 1990 Part II s33 and Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010)

It is illegal to burn commercial waste without an environmental permit or exemption – this includes waste generated by contractors (such as builders or gardeners) on domestic premises.

Planning law

If someone is carrying out development works, such as construction and demolition, then there may be a planning condition prohibiting the burning of waste on site.