top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
arrow down

What can I do to stop my French neighbour’s regular garden bonfires?

Burning garden waste is normally illegal in France. We look at what you can do if your neighbour breaks this rule

We look at action French residents can take against a neighbour lighting bonfires in their garden Pic: egschiller / Shutterstock

Reader Question: What can I do if a neighbour regularly has bonfires in their garden?

Starting a bonfire in one’s garden – either as a social activity or to burn waste – is generally against the law in France, and is punishable by a fine of up to €450.

If you have noticed that your neighbour is starting bonfires in their garden, you can contact your mayor, who has official powers regarding this sort of issue. 

Burning garden waste is forbidden under the 2020 n૦2020-105 law relating to waste and the circular economy, as well as the Code de l’environnement. 

The ban applies both to open-air fires and to incinerators, which release toxic substances, especially if the waste burnt in them is wet or contains bits of plastic. 

It should be noted that there are several exceptions to the rules and that people can burn waste if: 

  • Their commune does not have a rubbish dump

  • Their commune does not offer specific rubbish collections for the type of waste concerned

  • Their commune requires residents to clear their land to prevent wildfires (débroussaillement)

Read more: Explainer: France’s obligatory anti-wildfire garden clearing rules

  • There are measures in place to prevent certain epidemics from spreading 

  • There are measures in place against certain invasive plant species

As stated above, if your neighbour is burning garden waste and none of these exemptions are in place, you should contact your commune’s mairie

Your maire is responsible for making sure that residents respect the rules in place.

It may also be possible to launch legal action against a trouble anormal de voisinage (neighbourhood disturbances beyond what would usually be expected), if the fires are affecting your everyday life because of their smell and the smoke they let off. 

In this case, you may be able to obtain damages from the neighbour lighting the fires, but only if they do so repeatedly, as an isolated incident would be unlikely to be deemed significant enough. 

Read also: Wildfires: French law may require you to cut back at-risk vegetation

Related articles 

Autumn leaves: Rules as to what to do with garden waste in France

Can I have an outdoor fire pit or chiminea in my French garden?

What is the law on burning waste in my French garden?

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Income Tax in France 2023 (for 2022 income)*
Featured Help Guide
- Primarily aimed at Britons, covers pensions, rent, ISAs, shares, savings and interest - but also contains significant general information pertinent to readers of other nationalities - Overview of online declarations + step-by-step guide to the French printed forms - Includes updates given automatically after this year's site opened
Get news, views and information from France