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Rules for chimneys, bonfires, open fires and wood burning stoves

On this page you can find out what the rules are if you live in a smoke control area.

The borough of Lewisham is a smoke control area. This means you can’t emit smoke from a chimney unless you’re burning an authorised fuel or using an exempt appliance.

Rules for open fires and wood burning stoves

If you have an open fire, furnace or boiler you must use smokeless fuels, such as fire logs or briquettes, or use an exempt appliance. If you already have or want to buy a wood burning stove then you must use an exempt appliance

It is important to remember that wood burning stoves emit high levels of particulate matter (PM) which is one of the causes of increased pollution. Burning wet, seasoned, or dry wood releases large amounts of pollutants and has a knock-on impact on respiratory health.

Reducing air pollution through less wood burn can help reduce the contribution air pollution has on the levels of COVID-19 infection rates.  

Find out how you can burn wood safely in order to reduce environmental and health risks.

Rules for chimneys, furnaces and boilers

In a smoke control area, it is an offence to produce smoke from a chimney, furnace or boiler.

However, there is a list of exempt appliances and approved fuels.

Bonfires within Lewisham

Lewisham actively discourages all bonfires within the borough. If you have waste you need to dispose of, you can do so through the Council recycling sites. Look at our rubbish and recycling pages for advice on how to dispose of waste in other ways.

Reporting a bonfire to the Council 

Any bonfire that causes a nuisance or is believed to be an act of antisocial behaviour should be reported to the Safer Communities Service using the online form, which can be found by following the link below.

Report a bonfire

When making a complaint, please provide your details and the address of the property causing the nuisance. This will enable us to investigate your complaint.

It is important to note that under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 regulations, creating a statutory nuisance is deemed an offence.

If a bonfire is determined to meet the evidential standards of a statutory nuisance, the individuals responsible for creating it will be served with an abatement notice.

Complying with the notice is of the utmost importance, as non-compliance may lead to the issuance of a Fixed Penalty Notice or legal action by the council. Prompt action is recommended to ensure compliance and avoid any unnecessary consequences.

If a nuisance emanates from industrial, trade, or business premises, a fixed penalty notice (FPN) may be issued to members of the public for a fee of £400. In the case of a nuisance at private premises, an FPN may be issued for a fee of £150.


Safer Communities Service