During warmer, drier months, you may want to have a fire or a BBQ in your garden, or your neighbour may be having one and you’re wondering what you can do about it. Here’s the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service guide on garden fires.

We do not advise anyone to burn any rubbish or garden waste. It’s best to recycle household waste or compost garden waste. Please contact your local authority for information on collections and recycling centres, or visit Wales Recycles.

There are no set times when you can or cannot have fires. There are no laws against garden fires, but there are laws against the nuisance they cause. However, it is advised to risk assess all aspects of any fire to ensure it is safe and not too close to buildings or other combustible materials. You can read more on the UK Government site.

A barbecue should not cause a nuisance if you have one safely. For more information on how to BBQ safely, please visit our safety guide on barbecues.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service is committed to keeping communities safe by helping you identify and understand how to reduce risk in your home. For further advice, please read our questions and answers.

Question : My neighbour has garden fires on a regular basis which is causing a nuisance! What can I do?

Answer : If the fire is dangerous and you are at risk, then please do call 999. Otherwise, there are no laws against having a garden fire or bonfire, but there are laws for the nuisance they can cause. If you feel that neighbours are causing an environmental nuisance, please contact your local council, as they hold the statutory powers to take enforcement action. Your council can issue an ‘abatement notice’ if a neighbour’s bonfire is causing a nuisance. A bonfire must happen frequently to be considered a nuisance. Your neighbour can be fined up to £5,000 if they don’t follow the rules of the notice.

Question : My neighbour has been burning rubbish which gives off a lot of smoke and fumes. What can I do?

Answer : If the fire is dangerous and you are at risk, then please do call 999. People should not burn household waste if it will cause pollution or harm people’s health.

Otherwise, there are no laws against having a garden fire or bonfire, but there are laws for the nuisance they can cause. If you feel that neighbours are causing an environmental nuisance, please contact your local council as they hold the statutory powers to take enforcement action. Your council can issue an ‘abatement notice’ if a neighbour’s bonfire is causing a nuisance. A bonfire must happen frequently to be considered a nuisance. Your neighbour can be fined up to £5,000 if they don’t follow the rules of the notice.

Question : I have garden waste that I need to dispose of, can I burn it safely in my garden?

Answer : During the Coronavirus pandemic we would rather that residents do not have fires in gardens, to be considerate of any neighbours with breathing conditions who may also be self-isolating with symptoms of Covid-19. We do not advise anyone to burn garden or household waste. Please contact your local authority for information on collections and recycling centres, or visit Wales Recycles.

Please use your local authority waste, recycling and composting services or store it for when you can. You could be fined by your local authority for repeated fires which cause a nuisance to neighbours. Further info on garden fires is on the UK Government site.

Question : Am I able to have a BBQ in my back garden?

Answer : Households can have barbecues in their own gardens, providing this does not cause a nuisance. For more information on how to BBQ safely, please visit our safety guide on barbecues.