My Neighbours' Bonfire Night Party is
Causing a Nuisance. What Can I Do?
BONFIRE Night brings thrills and fun
for everybody with fireworks, sparklers and bonfires, and whilst they bring
happiness to many, if mishandled, what should be a very enjoyable evening can
end in arguments between neighbours, or worse!
► Who is responsible if someone gets hit by a firework at a party?
► Are there
restrictions on when you can have a bonfire?
► And what can you do if your
neighbour's Bonfire Night party is keeping you up at night?
Hannah Parsons from DAS Law is here to answer the questions you need to know.
What are the legal ramifications if you are injured by a firework at a friend
or family's party?
An occupier of a land owes a duty to any visitor to take reasonable care to
ensure the visitor is safe on the premises. Therefore if someone is hosting a
firework party, they should ensure they are purchasing the fireworks from a
licensed outlet, that they read the instructions carefully before use and ensure
that they light the fireworks from a safe place. If you are injured, you may be
able to hold the organiser of the event liable.
Is it true there are restrictions on when you can have a bonfire?
There are no restrictions on when you can have a bonfire.
Can you burn anything?
No you cannot. Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, it is an offence to
burn any substance that will release harmful fumes causing pollution to the
environment or harm to human health (these could include:- plastic, rubber or
You need to ensure that the fire is contained and does not escape causing damage
or injury to people. It is also an offence if anyone on a public road is
"injured, interrupted or endangered" by fire or smoke from your bonfire.
Can you prevent your neighbour from having a bonfire?
It is unlikely that you would be able to prevent your neighbour from having a
bonfire if they are doing so occasionally and are not burning hazardous
material. Obviously, if the neighbour's fire is posing a clear risk to the
safety of your property this could be reported to the fire service.
What recourse do I have if my neighbour is causing a nuisance?
► If your neighbour's bonfire is affecting you, the 1st step would be to raise
it with the neighbour to make them aware of the impact the bonfire has on you.
► If this fails then you may be able to get a court order restricting the
neighbour's ability to have a bonfire. But the occasional bonfire is unlikely to
amount to a legal nuisance and legal advice should be sought when considering
legal action against your neighbour.
► If you neighbour is burning hazardous material you can report the neighbour to
the environmental health team within your local authority.
If a neighbour's bonfire burns your fence or property, who's insurance should
be claimed on?
► If the fence was damaged because your neighbour failed to contain the fire and
take appropriate steps to prevent the fire from escaping or getting out of
control then your neighbour could be liable for the damage caused to the fence.
► If it is your neighbour's fault then they should claim on their insurance, but
you cannot insist they do so. However, when faced with a potential claim for
damages the neighbour may choose to get their insurance company involved instead
of dealing with it themselves.