Burning garden waste produces smoke, especially if it is damp and smouldering. Burning plastic, rubber or painted materials not only creates an unpleasant smell but also produces a range of poisonous compounds. This will contain pollutants including dioxins and particles. Your bonfire will also add to the general background level of air pollution. Air pollution in the UK often reaches unhealthy levels - do you really want to make it worse?
Emissions from bonfires can have damaging health effects. Serious harm is unlikely if exposure to bonfire smoke is brief. However problems may be caused for asthmatics, bronchitis sufferers, people with heart conditions and children.
The smoke, smuts and smell from bonfires are the subject of many complaints to Local Authorities. Smoke prevents your neighbours from enjoying their gardens, opening windows or hanging washing out, and reduces visibility in the neighbourhood and on roads. Allotments near homes can cause particular problems, if plot holders persistently burn waste.
Fire can spread to fences or buildings and scorch trees and plants. Exploding bottles and cans are a hazard when rubbish is burned. Piles of garden waste are often used as a refuge by animals so look out for hibernating wildlife and sleeping pets.