Unlike domestic properties, all trade and industrial sites (including construction sites) have tighter laws relating to what they are allowed to burn.

The law of nuisance applies to these sites as well as to domestic properties, but they are also subject to the laws of the Clean Air Act and waste management regulations.

Commercial black smoke fires

Any trade or industrial fire that creates black smoke by burning rubber, plastics or similar materials is committing an offence.

If you spot a fire giving off black smoke, please call us immediately and we will try to get out to the problem as soon as we can. The emissions that are given off by these sorts of fires contain some extremely toxic gases. 

If a fire is giving off a lot of thick but white or grey smoke an offence has not been committed.

Commercial waste burning

In many cases the burning of waste that has been produced by a business is now outlawed by waste management laws.

If you are concerned that a business site is disposing of its waste by burning it, even if it is not causing you a nuisance or creating black smoke then the Environment Agency will still need to know, but some crucial exceptions to this include:

  • Burning of wood or other vegetation on a site being demolished
  • Agricultural waste, such as stable waste or straw
  • Burning of wood or other vegetation on certain prescribed sites such as:
    • sports grounds
    • forests & woodlands
    • railway land

Companies wishing to burn the above must have an exemption certificate issued by the Environment Agency.

To report commercial waste burning, you can contact the Environmental Agency team on: 

  • Tel: 0800 807060

Last updated: Tue 31st July, 2018 @ 09:13