Smoke control and bonfires

Controlling smoke in Islington

The Clean Air Act 1993 gives local authorities powers to:

  • control emissions of dark smoke, grit, dust and fumes from industrial premises
  • declare smoke control areas - where dark smoke from the chimneys of domestic properties is not allowed.

The whole of Islington is a Smoke Control Zone and it is an offence to burn unauthorised fuel or use an appliance that is not exempt.

Fires in your home

You can still use fires in your home if you:

  • burn smokeless fuel (this can be widely purchased and is labelled as ‘smokeless’)
  • use specific types of wood burning stoves or furnaces

The Defra website has a list of authorised fuels and appliances that are exempt.

If you are found burning an unauthorised fuel you will be issued with a notice to stop as this is an offence under the Clean Air Act.

While fires are allowed in certain circumstances they may not be safe, healthy or cost efficient to run. Open fires can also affect the air quality in your home. Get advice on ways to heat your home.


Bonfires cause air pollution when materials do not burn completely and release large amounts of particles into the air. In high concentrations these particles can have damaging health effects.

Bonfire smoke in small quantities probably won't cause you serious harm, but people that suffer from things like asthma or bronchitis may experience problems. 

Even if the immediate health risk is small, your bonfire adds to the general background level of air pollution. Regular or very large bonfires may also cause a legal nuisance to your neighbours.

If you are disturbed by smoke from a bonfire:

Call our residential environmental health team on 020 7527 3083 during office hours or the anti-social behaviour reporting line on 020 7527 7272

Officers will need to observe from your home and assess the level of nuisance being caused. If they class it as a legal nuisance they can take enforcement action if necessary.

Rather than using a bonfire, you can compost most garden and kitchen waste - we would encourage you to do this if you have suitable garden space.


Visit our BBQ page for more information about the rules on cooking outdoors. 

If you are disturbed by smoke from a fire, BBQ or bonfire, report it online. 

Or call our anti-social behaviour reporting line on 020 7527 7272.

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