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Bonfires and Smoke
Bonfires on Council Property
Fermanagh & Omagh District Council does not permit bonfires on any of its grounds and will remove any such materials it believes are being used to make a bonfire.
Bonfires on Private Property
There are no restrictions preventing bonfires on private residential property as long as they do not cause a nuisance to other people and the smoke does not affect the highway.
If you plan to have a bonfire the following guidelines should be followed:
- Only burn dry materials as this will minimise the amount of smoke produced.
- Keep the number of bonfires to a minimum.
- Never burn household waste, plastics, rubber, aerosols, foam or paint as they produce toxic fumes.
- Never use oil, petrol or solvents or encourage a fire.
- Avoid lighting a fire in unsuitable weather conditions, as smoke will ‘hang’ in the air on damp days, or at sunset. Ensure bonfire is extinguished several hours before sunset.
- Consider wind direction before lighting up.
- Avoid burning on Sundays or Bank Holidays if you can.
- Never leave a fire unattended.
- Position any bonfire as far away from buildings as possible. Don’t light a fire if the wind will carry the smoke over the road or into neighbouring property.
- Take care to keep children away from a bonfire. Supervise burning as much as possible.
- Never leave a fire to smoulder, put it out with either water or soil.
Heaps of garden refuse provides a haven for small animals – Check before you light
- Take account of your neighbour’s activities – washing on line, open windows, sitting in garden, etc.
- Keep a hose pipe or buckets of water close at hand in case the fire gets out of control.
If the fire is very occasional it will be difficult to prove a statutory nuisance. This also applies if there are several different neighbours occasionally having bonfires.
How to make a complaint
For further advice or to make a complaint contact the Environmental Health Department at 0300 303 1777. If you make a formal complaint you will be asked to complete diary log sheets to provide accurate details of the following:
- A description of the smoke/odour and how if affects you in your home/garden.
- The dates the smoke/odour disturbs you.
- The times the smoke/odour starts and then stops.
Diary log sheets will be returned to the Environmental Health Department for analysis and based on the evidence appropriate action will be taken. This may involve visits to your property by authorised Officers to witness the disturbances you are experiencing.
If you make a complaint, the Council will endeavour to ensure your complaint details remain confidential but this cannot always be guaranteed. Additionally, in some circumstances, during investigation, it may be necessary to disclose personal details.