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a freind has asked me to dismantle and burn an old stable which is in a feild that belongs to them. is there any laws that say i carnt do this?.

asked in controled fire

Topaz2308 answers:

Bonfires and the law
There are no specific laws governing the use of bonfires although under the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) 1990, a statutory nuisance includes "smoke, fumes or gases emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance".

If bothered by smoke, approach your neighbour and explain the problem. You might feel awkward, but they may not be aware of the distress they are causing and it will hopefully make them more considerate in the future. If this fails, contact your local council's environmental health department.

The National Society for Clean Air and Environmental Protection (NSCA) factsheet 'Pollution, Nuisance and the Law' explains the situation in more detail. If the fire is only occasional it is unlikely to be considered a nuisance in law.

Under the Highways Act 1980, anyone lighting a fire and allowing smoke to drift across a road faces a fine if it endangers traffic. Contact the police in this case.

What's wrong with bonfires?
they add to air pollution
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
your bonfire will also add to the general background level of air pollution
they cause detrimental health effects
bonfire smoke may cause problems for asthmatics, bronchitis sufferers, people with heart conditions and children
bonfires cause annoyance to neighbours
the smoke, soot, and smell from bonfires are the subject of many complaints to local councils
smoke prevents your neighbours from enjoying their gardens, opening windows or hanging washing out, and reduces visibility in the neighbourhood and on roads
any bonfire is a potential safety risk
fire can spread to fences or buildings 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

Bonfire guidelines
If a bonfire is the best practicable option for disposing of garden waste, follow these guidelines from the National Society for Clean Air and Environmental Protection (NCSA) to avoid causing serious nuisance:

only burn dry material
never burn household rubbish, rubber tyres, or anything containing plastic, foam or paint
never use old engine oil, meths or petrol to light the fire or encourage it
avoid lighting a fire in unsuitable weather conditions - smoke hangs in the air on damp, still days and in the evening
be considerate to your neighbours - if it is windy, smoke may be blown into neighbours gardens and across roads
avoid burning when air pollution in your area is high or very high - check the weather forecast, or the air quality website


Have also linked in the desktop lawyer that states it is not a problem as long as this is not a regular occurrence or doesn't annoy anyone as the environmental health could be called and take action against you.


Supplement from 08/28/2008 11:20pm:

Should also say that make sure the field is not tinder dry when you do this because it will spread very quickly. Also make it into a pile like you would a bonfire as it will make it easier for you to manage and even a circle of stones or sand around the base will help to stop it spreading out of control.

Also it might be prudent to find out the composition of the stables from a professional first as you don't want to get half way through dismantling and burning to find out it has asbestos.

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Family.Guy answers:

You could always donate the wood to a scout camp site and let the scouts burn it for you ;o)

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moonzero2 answers:

It would be worth checking that the building does not contain any asbestos, as disturbing this without qualified personell will result in a prosecution under environmental health legislation.

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Aiming4777 answers:

Although planning regulations http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/england/genpub/en/ extend to certain types of demolition, a demolition notice usually doesn’t need to be served for an agricultural building (as defined by section 26 of the General Rate Act 1967), the Local Authority may make provisions under the Building Act 1984 http://www.communities.gov.uk/index.asp?id=1130483 to control the demolition works for the protection of public safety.

Section 80 of the Act places an obligation on anyone intending to demolish a building (subject to certain exceptions) to give notice to the local authority who may set out specific steps to be followed to ensure that the building is demolished in a safe and satisfactory manner. These can include the removal of rubbish and clearing the site and informing the local fire authority if building materials are to be burnt on site.

Furthermore, the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994 (as amended) http://www.netregs.gov.uk/netregs/sectors/1842950/1843542/1864780/ may apply for any demolition waste produced. These Regulations also define the extent of certain other activities such as the amount of wood you will be permitted to burn in the open in a 24 hour period.

Note: If the barn is in a conservation area, you may need planning permission to demolish this barn regardless of whether it is classed as an agricultural building.

Overall, this seems a wasteful and unnecessary destruction of what must be aged timber. It is difficult to believe that this wood is not of value to an architectural salvage business or just for use in wood burning stoves.

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