To report a bonfire nuisance or incident please call +44 1624 685 535 or email

Household Bonfires

Under the Public Health Act 1990 if smoke from a bonfire in your garden or outdoor stove affects the comfort and enjoyment of neighbours this could be considered a statutory nuisance. There are no specified times acceptable to have a bonfire at home but please take into consideration the neighbours.

It is illegal to burn any controlled (household, commercial, industrial or clinical) waste without a license subject to some exemptions– controlled waste must be disposed of at a licenced facility. The burning of household, industrial or commercial waste except at a licensed facility is an offence and can lead to prosecution.

For information on exemptions for the controlled burning of heath and diseased timber please contact DEFA Forestry at or on +44 1624 685835

If you have a bonfire at home don’t burn household waste, treated wood, rubber, tyres or anything containing plastic, foam or paint. It is an offence to dispose of waste if it will cause pollution or harm people’s health – this includes burning it.

There are four civic amenity sites across the island which is free for householders to dispose of their waste. Please see the Civic Amenity Sites page for more information. 

DEFA and DoI provide a scheme to collect plastic waste from farms which is disposed of at the Energy from Waste plant, please contact DEFA at or on +44 1624 685535.

Treated or contaminated wood can be collected and disposed of at the Energy from Waste plant for a reduced gate fee. Contact any of the local waste collectors for more information – help produce electricity for the Isle of Man. (Treated wood is any wood that has been chemically treated (e.g. to enhance or alter the performance of the original wood). Treatments may include penetrating oils, tar oil preservatives, waterborne preservatives, organic-based preservatives, boron and organo-metallic based preservatives, boron and halogenated flame retardants and surface treatments. This does not include wood that has been heat treated.)

Remember to always check for hedgehogs and other small animals before lighting a bonfire.


Burning of waste on campfires and bonfires

If you comply with the requirements below, we will allow the burning of waste on campfires at Scout and Guide centres and Guy Fawkes’ night bonfires.

We recognise that certain traditional cultural events need to be upheld such as Guy Fawkes’ night bonfires. This is aimed at helping to ensure the spirit of such events can continue to be enjoyed whilst minimising their impact on the environment.

Our approach

We will not pursue enforcement action for the activity where:

  • the burning of waste is for a traditional cultural event such as campfires at Scout and Guide centres and Guy Fawkes’ night bonfires
  • the waste is kept securely before being burnt
  • the material being kept and burned is suitable for pupose (i.e. untreatedwood, branches, and small amounts of leaves, card and paper and not plastics, rubber, glass, metal etc)
  • the size of the bonfire or campfire is appropriate for the event
  • the location is appropriate and does not indicate the involvement of waste operations in the course of, or as a result of, their waste business
  • the activity does not risk or cause pollution or endanger human health

Commercial Waste Producers

Burning is not an acceptable, safe or sustainable waste disposal option. Uncontrolled burning of waste can contribute negatively to Climate Change and can be unsafe and is not a sustainable process. Uncontrolled burning of waste pollutes the environment, can be hazardous to health and may result in criminal prosecution and substantial fines.

The Island’s Legislation requires waste producers (individuals, businesses and public bodies) to dispose of waste without endangering the environment or public health. Measures include secure storage of waste prior to collection, arrangements for collection and delivery to a licensed (disposal) site for processing or disposal. Disposal in this context includes recycling, re-use, storage, transfer, incineration and landfill.

Government’s Policy for waste is designed towards a ‘zero waste culture’, where seeking to capture ‘resource or value from waste’ is preferred to disposal by incineration without energy recovery or landfill.

‘Municipal mixed waste’ contains materials (paper, metal, plastic, glass, rubber, leather, textiles, wood, food and clinical and/or special waste) of differing polluting potential if impoperly disposed and resource value where effectively managed. Uncontrolled burning of wastes produces smoke, malodours and particulates which pollute the environment, risk public health and adversely affect the amenity of the locality.

Please contribute to improving and maintaining the quality of the local environment by ensuring that your waste is managed properly. Criminal prosecution and fines form part of the enforcement policy, when legitimate alternative options for waste disposal are readily available.

Burning is not an acceptable, safe or sustainable way of controlled waste disposal.

Business Responsibilities

The Public Health Act 1990 (the Act) places a Duty of Care on waste producers to ensure that all waste is disposed of correctly. This includes secure storage in bespoke containers to prevent waste escaping, access for collection and transportation to a licensed disposal site. Burning allows the escape of waste through emissions of particulates and smoke to the atmosphere. Failure to comply with this Duty of Care is a criminal offence potentially carrying an unlimited fine.

It is also an offence to deposit waste or use plant or equipment for the purpose of waste disposal unless both (the land which forms the location of the deposit and the plant or equipment) benefit from a licence (disposal licence) issued by the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture. Failure to comply with this requirement is a criminal offence carrying a maximum penalty of a prison sentence and a fine.

Conditions of a disposal licence are designed for the protection of public health and the environment. Fires and/or burning waste are prohibited through a licence condition. Failure to comply fully with a condition of a licence may result in formal enforcement action through the service of a notice.

Smoke is often a cause of nuisance to neighbours. The Act places a duty on the Local Authorities to investigate complaints of smoke nuisance, which may result in the service of a Statutory Nuisance Abatement Notice. Breach of a notice served on domestic, industrial, trade or business premises can result in a fine not exceeding £2,500 and further enforcement proceedings.

The alternatives

How to dispose of your waste

In order to fulfil the Duty of Care businesses (waste producers) should ensure that all waste gennerated is removed from their premises and delivered to a licensed site.

Each Local Authority provides a household and commercial waste collection service. This provision includes supply of refuse sacks and/or wheelie bins. Some may also offer a bulky waste uplift service. The Local Authority or the Department of Infrastructure may also collect industrial waste in exceptional cases.

Further information is available via the Waste Management page.

Any businesses that store, process, recycle or dispose of controlled waste may also require a disposal licence. There are exemptions for certain activities and types of waste, however these too need to be registered. To find out if your business requires a Waste Disposal Licence or an exemption please contact the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture’s Environmental Protection Unit on +44 1624 685892 or at


Recycling opportunies are readily accessible throughout the Island at Civic Amenity Sites and Bring Banks for household waste, and at Licensed Sites for Commercial and Industrial Waste. For further information regarding these facilities please contact DEFA on +44 1624 685894. Further information is also available via the Waste Management page.

For further information, please contact the Environmental Protection Unit, on +44 1624 685 535 or email