green ways Coppice & Ashmore

Garden Fires/Bonfires

Recently there has been a number of garden fires here in Wednesfield North- Which led to a number of enquiries from other residents about what can take place lawfully.

It is permissible for householders to have occasional bonfires. City of Wolverhampton Council do however receive a large number of service requests relating to persons having frequent bonfires that cause disturbance to neighbours by preventing them from using their gardens, putting out their washing to dry or causing smoke ingress into their own property. In such cases the Council can take action on the complainant’s behalf to restrict or abate the bonfires.

The law on statutory nuisance covers a wide range of issues which include matters such as noise disturbance, accumulations of refuse, dust from building activities, smoke from bonfires, smells from deposits such as dog faeces and light from security lamps. Where the investigation identifies a statutory nuisance the Council can serve an abatement notice requiring the nuisance to be stopped. If the nuisance continues the person causing the nuisance can be prosecuted.

During investigations of such complaints we would initially write to the person allegedly causing the nuisance and also send the complainant a diary sheet to keep a log of the occasions when nuisance occurs and the impact the nuisance is having on them. The diary sheet would later be used in court proceedings to prove nuisance.

Where the investigation is unable to prove statutory nuisance the complainant can take private action. There is an information leaflet available which describes what actions are needed.

My advice is that if you have concerns. Please start the diary sheet as outlined here. Its the evidence that is required, which will be crucial going forward.

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Phil Bateman

Phil Bateman is Married to Mary and lives in Wednesfield North. He was a long serving local politician having served previously on the now defunct West Midlands County Council... read more

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