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Commercial and Industrial Bonfires

It is illegal to dispose of trade waste by burning and any business doing so is potentially committing three separate offences. Trade waste is any waste that is generated by commercial and business premises.

What the law says

If you own or operate a business you must ensure that are fulfilling your 'Duty of Care' that you are disposing of your waste in the correct manner - this is a legal requirement under S.34 of the Environmental Protection Act.

Under Sections 33 and 34 of The Environmental Protection Act 1990 all businesses have a duty of care to ensure that their waste is disposed of correctly and must be collected by registered waste carriers. The maximum fine for failing to comply with this duty of care is £5,000. It is also an offence to store or dispose of (including burning) trade waste without a waste management licence or in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health. This type of offence is dealt with by the Environment Agency and if you suspect any business is burning or disposing of waste illegally please contact the Environment Agency's Incident Hotline on 0800 807060.

Action can also be taken by Dudley Council under Section 79 and 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 where smoke from bonfires is deemed to be a statutory nuisance. For commercial premises the punishment upon successful prosecution in a Magistrates Court for this type of offence is a fine not exceeding £20,000 and/or imprisonment.

In addition to the above offences it is also an offence under the Clean Air Act 1993 to emit dark or black smoke from any industrial or trade premises. This is a separate offence from the waste disposal and nuisance laws described above and a person found guilty of an offence may be fined up to £20,000 and prosecution can be taken on a first offence.

How to make a complaint

If you wish to complain about smoke nuisance from a bonfire on commercial premises or report an incident of black smoke, please contact us using the details below.

Useful links

Commercial and Trade Services

Contact Details

  • Name Environmental Safety and Health
  • Address People Directorate, 3-5 St James's Road, Dudley, DY1 1HZ
  • Telephone 0300 555 2345