Are fire pits legal in the UK?

Yes, fire pits are legal in the UK. “But you do need to be respectful of your neighbours and be sure that you are not causing a nuisance with smoke,” warns garden designer Martyn Wilson. He also recommends checking local legislation to see if you are in a smoke free zone.  

What is the best fuel to use in a fire pit?

“Try to use woods with a low moisture content, such as kiln dried woods or well seasoned hardwoods,” says Wilson. 

Bio-ethanols formed from plant-based materials such as fermented sugar and plant based starches are also used for some more contemporary fire pits. “They will tend to burn with less smoke,” Wilson says. Other units use gases or coal.

How to look after your fire pit

The good news is that most fire pits can be left outside. “If you have a fire bowl, try leaving on its side or upside down in the winter to prevent rain water building up inside,” says Wilson. 

He also notes that a layer of sand in the bottom of a fire pit can help radiate heat and prevent burn of the metal. However, he suggests that we avoid leaving ash or embers in the bottom. Once fully cooled, the ashes should be removed and disposed of safely. “Wood ash can be good for the garden!” he said.

Safety tips for fire pits

Never leave fire pits unattended. Wilson suggests keeping a bucket of sand kept nearby, in case you need to extinguish the fire in a hurry.  

“In light of the recent record temperatures, it is really important to be mindful of the weather and make sure there is not dry grass or foliage nearby that could ignite from embers,” he says, “particularly so if it is windy and there hasn’t been any rain”.  

It is also important to consider the space around the fire pits and allow plenty of room to move around. Keep children and pets away, and always read and follow safety instructions. 

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