Report an air quality concern

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.

There are exemptions if you are burning an authorised fuel or using an exempt appliance:

Non-authorised fuel and non-exempt appliances

You could be guilty of an offence and fined up to £1000, if smoke is emitted from your chimney as a result of:

  • the burning of a non-authorised fuel
  • using a non-exempt appliance

You can read the rules for Smoke Control Areas on GOV.UK.

This legislation does not apply to barbecues and bonfires. You can get advice on bonfires on GOV.UK.

Open fires and wood burning stoves

You can get guidance on open fires and wood-burning stoves on GOV.UK.


We receive more complaints about bonfires than any other form of air pollution.  Low level smoke has a considerable polluting effect, particularly in built up areas.

Bonfire smoke contains pollutants that can have damaging health effects. Bonfires often cause discomfort, inconvenience and bad feeling between neighbours.

We discourage bonfires for disposing of garden or other waste.

You should dispose of garden or other waste using sustainable methods, such as:

  • composting
  • shredding and
  • recycling

You could also sign up for our garden waste collection service.

What we can do

We can take action under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, if burning of garden waste is:

  • a regular occurrence and
  • statutory nuisance

If we take action against you, you could be liable for a fine of up to £5,000.

Report a bonfire

In most cases, the best way to stop a smoke nuisance is by speaking to the person responsible for causing it. They may not know that they are causing a disturbance. 

If this doesn't work, you can report the issue to us by:

You'll need to tell us:

  • about the problem
  • where the problem is (your address an the address of the problem)
  • your name
  • your contact details

We don't accept anonymous reports about bonfires. This is because we need to be able to contact you to discuss the issue.

Your identity will be protected under data protection regulations. You should keep in mind that if your report goes to court your identity may need to be revealed.