Smoke control area

The entire borough of Sutton is a Smoke Control Area, as described in the Clean Air Act of 1993. This means that if smoke is emitted from a building chimney within the borough, it is an offence under the Act. However, there are exemptions if you are burning an authorised fuel or using an exempt appliance. 

If at any time, smoke is emitted from the chimney of a building as a result of the burning of a non-authorised fuel or otherwise in a non-exempt appliance, the occupier of the building could be guilty of an offence fined up to £1000. 

This legislation does not apply to barbecues and bonfires. Please see further information and DEFRA's advice on bonfires. 

Open fires and wood burning stoves

The government recently published Defra guidance on open fires and wood-burning stoves. This document is designed to help the user minimise the environmental impact of these activities. 


We receive more complaints about bonfires than any other form of air pollution.  

The polluting effect of low level smoke is considerable, particularly in built up areas, and bonfire smoke contains pollutants that can have damaging health effects. Bonfires often cause discomfort, inconvenience and bad feeling between neighbours.

We are committed to improving air quality and therefore discourage this method of disposal of garden or other waste. If you need to dispose of garden or other waste we encourage you to use sustainable methods such as composting, shredding and recycling.  

We also provide a green garden waste collection service - for more information see Garden waste collection service.

We are able to take formal action under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 when burning of garden waste is a regular occurrence and a statutory nuisance is caused. If we take action against you, you could be liable for a fine of up to £5,000.

Make a complaint

In the majority of cases, the most efficient way to stop a smoke nuisance is by reporting it to the person responsible for causing it. They may not know that their activities are causing a disturbance. 

However, if this method does not work, you may report the issue to the Council as follows. 

To make a complaint, please email or call at:

Tel. 0208 770 5000 


Please provide the following details:

  • A description of the problem

  • The address of the problem and your address

  • Your name and contact details

NB - We do not accept anonymous complaints because we need to be able to contact you to discuss the issue. However, your identity will be protected in accordance with data protection regulations. If your complaint goes to court your identity may be revealed.