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Bonfires and smoke


Bonfires can become irritating if the smoke and smell prevents opening windows, hanging out washing and the use of outdoor areas by others.

We can take action to prevent further disturbance if smoke from a bonfire causes a statutory nuisance. 

Report bonfire nuisance by using the 'neighbourhood nuisance' form:

Report neighbourhood nuisance

If smoke is drifting across a road and endangering traffic, please contact the police. 

We would advise against having a bonfire. For alternative methods of safely disposing of your waste, please see our Local recycling sites page.


Smoke control relating to industrial premises

It is an offence, subject to certain exemptions, to emit dark smoke from industrial or trade premises. This would include any premises which are being used for a trade, such as a domestic premises where work is being undertaken. 

Burning commercial waste

It is illegal for businesses to burn any commercial waste, even cardboard. You have an obligation to dispose of waste in a legal manner, which does not include burning. 

Report smoke nuisance by using the 'neighbourhood nuisance' form:

Report neighbourhood nuisance

Smoke control areas

The urban areas of Bedford and Kempston are in a smoke control area where only authorised fuels must be used. 

These fuels have passed tests to confirm that they are capable of burning in an open fireplace without producing smoke.

Otherwise, fuels must be burnt using an exempt fireplace. Exempt appliances are capable of burning unauthorised or smoky fuel without emitting smoke.

Open fires and wood burning stoves - a practical guide

How to get the most from your stove or open fire - a guide to buying, storing and seasoning wood

It is an offence to create smoke from a chimney of a building, or from a furnace, or any fixed boiler in a smoke control area.

We issue fines of up to £1,000 for burning waste which creates smoke in the Bedford and Kempston smoke control area.

View our smoke control area map.