Now that we have had some rain, with more expected from tomorrow, bonfire rules return to normal (ie, fires are permitted after 6pm or dusk if sooner, and not on Sundays). Plotholders must ensure that fires are completely out before leaving, and take care that no dry vegetation nearby can catch fire. Please minimise your need to burn items by composting and recycling.

These guidelines are from Cam Parish Council, but apply equally in Oxford:

If after having carefully considered the alternatives you still decide to have a bonfire, there are some
guidelines that will help to ensure that you don’t cause a nuisance:
 Always observe the simple courtesy of letting your neighbours know when you intent to light the
 Only burn dry material and never burn household rubbish or anything with plastic, foam, paint or
rubber in it. Do not take rubbish to the site to burn.
 Never use old engine oil, methylated spirits, or petrol to light or encourage a fire. Not only does this
make smoke, it is also very dangerous.
 Avoid lighting fires in unsuitable weather conditions such as damp, still days.
 Avoid times when the wind will blow smoke over roads or into neighbour’s gardens.
 Avoid burning when people want to enjoy their gardens such as at weekends or Bank Holidays.
 Air Pollution is described using four bands – LOW, MODERATE, HIGH and VERY HIGH. Avoid burning
when air pollution in the area is anything other than Low. You can check this at the DEFRA Air
Information Resource at provides daily forecast levels of air
 Always check the stack intended for burning to look for hibernating hedgehogs or other animals that
may be in it.
 Never leave a fire unattended or leave it to smoulder.
 Never use water to douse a bonfire. It may appear as if the fire has been safely put out but the water
only serves to superheat the ashes and they could re-ignite some hours later. When you have to
leave the bonfire site always throw soil or sand over it to smother the heat source.
 Bear in mind the law of statutory nuisance; regular smoky bonfires – or even a
single one which is very polluting – could be regarded as a statutory nuisance and result in a legal
notice being served on you by the Council.


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