Home Community and neighbourhoods Burning Waste: What are the rules?
Waste being burnt in barrel

Burning Waste: What are the rules?

by Alison Cornmell

Knowsley Council’s Environmental Health Team is reminding residents and businesses of their responsibilities when it comes to disposing of waste, specifically the rules around burning it.

Burning waste is harmful to the environment, releasing harmful gases, grit and dust. Smoke can also be a nuisance to neighbours and harm human health and burning tyres, plastics, rubbers, oils and paints can also create dark smoke which is hazardous.

It is illegal to burn commercial, or trade waste unless you have a valid Environmental Permit or exemption.  This includes burning it away from the workplace and can result in unlimited fines.

In domestic settings, you must either use exempt appliances or approved, smokeless fuels on a wood burning stove, and should consider disposing of waste at a recycling centre rather than burning it.  This includes garden waste.  If you do burn it, and it causes a nuisance to others, it can result in unlimited fines.

You cannot burn mixed household waste. Householders can take their waste to a household recycling centre or contact Knowsley Council about its Bulky Waste collections:


Residents are also reminded not to give their waste to an unlicensed waste carrier. If you hand over bags of your household waste or items such as old sofas, broken washing machines or burst mattresses to an unlicensed waste carrier, it’s possible they’ll illegally fly tip the waste. And it’s the householder who could face an unlimited fine for failing to dispose of their waste responsibly by hiring an authorised waste carrier. You can read more here about householder waste responsibilities.

Fires containing trade or commercial waste are illegal.


It is illegal to burn construction or demolition waste. The only exception is plant material. This can be burned under a D7 exemption which must be registered with the Environment Agency.


It illegal for you to burn cable to recover the metal core unless your premises are registered with the local authority. This is an offense under the Clean Air Act 1993.

You must not burn inorganic farm waste, such as plastic and tyres, in the open. You can no longer use a drum incinerator to burn agricultural or veterinary containers contaminated with pesticides or other toxic substances.

Horse manure from commercial stables is commercial waste and cannot be burned. Private horse owners can burn small amounts on their land; however we recommend you compost manure or use it as a soil improver.

For more information you can contact:

The Environment Agency:
Email: enquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk
Online: www.environment-agency.gov.uk 
Telephone: 03708 506 506 (Mon – Fri 8-6)

For further info or to repost any concerns you have about someone burning waste please contact Knowsley Council’s Environmental Health:
Email: Environmental.Health@knowsley.gov.uk