We have a communal bonfire area by the Association shed (on the north-west corner of the site). We also have an incinerator for members to burn small quantities of suitable waste. Burning on site is governed by the City Council’s policy and our Constitution and Rules (section 6.7.1). The basics are
- Burn only dry material (as damp material creates excessive smoke)
- Don’t have a bonfire when the wind is blowing towards Castle Mill flats
- Never leave a fire unattended until it is fully out.
We have had complaints from our neighbours about smoke nuisance. If there are too many complaints, the Council may ban us from having fires; a large site like ours would be unmanageable without bonfires (some Oxford allotments already ban bonfires on plots). So, whilst you are permitted to have a bonfire on your plot, you must be very careful to follow the advice about wind direction, dry materials etc.
Those who do not respect the rules may be banned from having fires (as agreed by our 2018 AGM). We do not want a huge pile building up, so Members are expected to burn waste they take there immediately. Therefore, please check that your material is dry and the wind in the right direction before starting out. (Occasionally, the communal bonfire site will already be full of Working Party waste, in which case please wait until it’s clear before having your fire.)
As well as smoke nuisance, be mindful of air pollution – for example, don’t burn painted or treated wood (put in the skip instead).