Report a smoke or bonfire problem



Bonfires Click to get info

  • The Council strongly discourages bonfires in built up areas, as they worsen the poor air quality that Waltham Forest already experiences, and invariably cause a nuisance to neighbours.
  • Burning material on a bonfire wastes a resource that can be reused or recycled.
  • Fresh green plant material from gardens should be placed in our brown wheeled bins or in green bags. It can also be taken to one of the borough's three Household Waste and Recycling centres, and deposited in the skips provided for this purpose, when they are open.
  • Alternatively, residents can build their own compost box for garden waste. This converts green garden waste into valuable compost which can be used as a soil conditioner, and thus takes away the need for a bonfire.
  • Any waste material as a result of DIY activity must be disposed of in the correct manner at a Household Waste and Recycling Centre. Material resulting from a domestic project involving a contractor like a builder or decorator should be disposed of by that contractor. There is simply no need for it to be disposed of it on a bonfire.

If you do decide to have a bonfire

  • Bonfires must not be lit as to cause a nuisance to neighbouring premises. There are no times when bonfires may be lit as of right.
  • Smoke emission from any source that causes a nuisance must be avoided.
  • Any bonfire that is considered to be essential must be carefully started with a small amount of dry material, and properly attended, so that it can be built up as the heat increases. It should be ;it as far away from neighbouring properties as possible.
  • At no time must fresh, green plant material be placed on a bonfire, and under no circumstances should a bonfire be heaped up and left to smoulder.
  • Observing these rules will ensure that dry plant materials are burnt with minimum smoke emission and will avoid committing an offence.

All household refuse must be disposed of either in the normal refuse collection bin, by taking to a Household Waste and Recycling Centre, or by the special collection service for large items such as furniture, mattresses etc. Most items of bulky household waste can be collected free. It must never be disposed of by burning on a bonfire.

It is emphasised that residents are responsible for avoiding smoke emissions that cause a nuisance, as this is an offence. Failure to comply with this information and advice may result in enforcement action, including unlimited fines.

Smoky car vehicles Click to get info

Smoky vehicles damage the environment, worsen air quality and in the borough of Waltham Forest vehicles are the main source of air pollution.

Keeping a car well maintained is essential, especially for the MOT test. VOSA (Vehicle and Operator Services Agency) operates a service to vehicle operators to prevent them receiving a prohibition notice on their vehicle (either from VOSA or the Police) under Section 69 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 or the driver and/or owner being prosecuted under Section 40A and/or Section 42 of the same Act.

If you see a vehicle that may be emitting excessive smoke you can either report it to the VOSA operated smoky vehicle hotline: 0300 123 9000

Or complete a smoky vehicle report card

They will want to know:

  • The vehicle registration number (displayed on the number plate)
  • The type of vehicle (be as specific as possible)
  • The date, time and place where you saw the vehicle
  • If possible the name of the vehicles operator (the company or owner)

There is more information on the VOSA web site.

Smoky buses Click to get info

If you see a bus emitting excessive smoke, you can report it to Transport for London on 0845 300 7000 (8am-8pm Monday-Friday) or send an email to

If you don't have access to a computer, you can visit a Library Plus branch where you can use a self-service pc to log your request/report.  Staff are available to support you if you need it.​​​​​​​