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Bonfires, air pollution and smoke problems

See how to report problems with bonfires, smoke and air pollution, see when we hold bonfire events and view bonfire safety advice.

Council bonfires and firework displays

Every year we hold a number of bonfires and firework displays to celebrate Bonfire Night.

You can attend a display for FREE at different locations across the borough.

Report a bonfire

Bonfires at private residential properties are allowed as long as the smoke fumes don’t affect public highways or people living or working nearby.

If there's a problem with a bonfire:

  • Emergencies ring 999: if a bonfire is out of control or built in a dangerous location, contact the Fire Service immediately.
  • Non emergencies: use the form below to report bonfires on public land. If smoke from a bonfire is affecting you, please first discuss the problem with the person responsible. If this doesn’t resolve the matter, then report it to us.
  • Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH) non emergencies: for any bonfires on RBH land, please report them to RBH directly.
Report a bonfire problem (opens in a new window)

Report chimney smoke

It's an offence to emit smoke from a chimney in a smoke control area unless you're burning an authorised fuel or using an exempt appliance, such as a wood burning stove. View list of authorised fuels and exempt appliances.

If you report chimney smoke, we'll investigate to find out whether the law is being broken and not simply whether smoke is being emitted.

Smoke control areas in the borough: most of the borough is a smoke control area, except for Red Lumb, Lanehead and the moorlands around Littleborough and Milnrow.

Report a problem with chimney smoke (opens in a new window)

Report smoke problems and air pollution

You can report smoke problems and air pollution to us using the form below.

We'll investigate your report and we may visit you and the source of the problem. In some cases, we may also take formal action against those responsible for air pollution.

Report smoke problems and air pollution (opens in a new window)

What bonfires, smoke and air problems you should report

You can report a one off incident or continuous problems with any of the following:

  • Large bonfires
  • Regularly having bonfires on a weekly basis
  • Burning household waste, plastics, rubber or painted materials
  • Dust and grit from construction sites
  • Smells from bonfires or commercial premises
  • Ash falling onto your house, garden or the road
  • Smoke from a bonfire blocking view of the road
  • Dark smoke coming from bonfires or buildings 

What bonfires, smoke and air problems you shouldn't report

We don't consider the following as antisocial bonfires, smoke or air pollution:

  • A small, one-off bonfire
  • Burning garden waste in small amounts without much smoke
  • Organised bonfires on bonfire night
  • Smoke from barbecues
  • Smoke from cigarettes
  • Smells from people cooking

Bonfire Night safety advice

Have a safe Bonfire Night. Please consider attending an organised event rather then risking your safety by having your own bonfire.

Please note: we will remove any bonfires built on council land without our permission.

Bonfire safety advice

If you still want your own bonfire, please ensure you follow these guidelines:

  • Bonfires should be 18 metres from buildings, trees, fences, overhead cables and car parking areas. Only clean, dry timber should be burned.
  • Bonfires should be no more than 3 metres in height. There should be a suitable barrier around the bonfire to keep spectators 5 metres away.
  • Don't burn aerosols, batteries, bottles, foam-filled furniture, tins of paint or tyres.
  • Don't use petrol, paraffin, diesel or white spirit to light the bonfire - use firelighters instead.
  • Check that no children or animals are hiding in the bonfire before lighting.
  • Keep some buckets of water nearby in case of emergency and to damp down after the event.

Fireworks safety advice

If you're planning on hosting a fireworks party "be safe not sorry" and keep it free from accidents by following the Fireworks Code:

  • Ideally, attend an organised display.
  • Buy fireworks from a reputable retailer and only those marked BS 7114.
  • Keep fireworks in a closed metal box.
  • Follow the instructions on each firework.
  • Light them at arm's length using a taper, stand well back and never go back to a lit firework.
  • Never put fireworks in your pocket.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby if you're setting off fireworks in your garden.
  • Never throw fireworks.
  • Keep pets indoors.
  • Alcohol and fireworks don't mix and may lead to injury.

Other safety tips

  • Always supervise children around fireworks and never give sparklers to a child under the age of 5. Leave the lighting of fireworks to responsible adults only.
  • Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves.
  • Prepare for the party in advance and in daylight. On the night, you'll need a torch, a bucket of water, eye protection, gloves, a bucket of soft earth to put fireworks in and suitable supports and launchers if you're setting off Catherine wheels or rockets.
  • Read the government's guide to organising bonfires and fireworks

Don't break the law

It's illegal to let fireworks off between 11pm and 7am. On Bonfire Night, this is extended so you can let off fireworks until midnight.

It's also illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to possess fireworks in a public place.

Related pages


0300 303 8871

Phone: Monday-Friday 8.30am-5.30pm.
Closed for training Monday 11am-11.30am.

Public Protection Service​​
Number One Riversid​e​
Smith Street
Rochdale OL16 1XU