There are clear council guidelines on bonfires and it makes sense to know them.

There comes a time when a bonfire just seems the most sensible thing. However, arguments about bonfires often cause strife between neighbours, and the council is very keen that allotmentholders should not cause trouble with people in nearby houses. For this reason they ask allotmentholders to keep bonfires to an absolute minimum. Click the button above to go to the Council’s website.

You are a tenant of the council, and they do have a say in what you do. Be sensible and avoid getting into an awkward or stressful situation. Here are some guidelines.

  • Only ever burn woody prunings or rubbish, or diseased plant material. You don’t need to burn weeds; they can be buried in a covered compost heap or allowed to dry out before composting. Most of what you read about not composting weeds is exaggerated. Even nettle and bindweed roots will die in a compost heap if it’s made properly and the light excluded. Woody prunings like those from raspberries will rot down if chopped up with secateurs into short lengths.
  • Get stuff as dry as possible before burning – most of the “smoke” is in fact steam.
  • Don’t burn when a stiff breeze will carry smoke straight to people’s houses.
  • Build the bonfire in the afternoon but don’t light it till sunset.
  • Never burn plastic or polythene – put them out with domestic rubbish or take them to the dump. The dump is open till 4.30 every day except Christmas Day – both Saturday and Sunday.
  • Make sure the bonfire is away from sheds or trees, and ensure it has died down, or dowse it with water, before leaving.

There have, on some sites, been problems with householders who have reacted violently and unreasonably to anyone having bonfires, even if the smoke is not drifting to their property. Anyone who is not an allotmentholder is technically trespassing if they come onto an allotment site without the permission of the council or the invitation of a plotholder.

If they become abusive, threatening or out of control it is entirely reasonable for you to call the police. If you feel your safety is in jeopardy, or that a crime eg assault is about to occur, it would be appropriate to dial 999 and to tell the person that you have done so.