Fri 21 Apr 2023

Can You Burn Grass Cuttings in the UK?

Can You Burn Grass Cuttings in the UK

With summer approaching, grass is starting to grow again, and you may already have given your lawn its first cut of the year. Even the shortest grass seems to generate lots of clippings and cuttings. Getting rid of them can be a challenge, leading some to consider burning grass cuttings in their garden. 

But before you decide to burn grass clippings, make sure you know what the law is as well as alternatives – for example, garden waste collection. Here’s all you need to know…

Can you burn grass cuttings in the UK?

The answer is not straightforward as you might think. Whilst it’s not illegal to burn grass clippings in the UK, there are rules and regulations regarding nuisances and pollution. For example, it is illegal to burn garden waste if it will cause pollution or harm people’s health. This falls under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and is an offence under the Clean Air Act 1993.

According to the UK government, you can burn heather, rough grass, and other vegetation (including gorse, bracken, and bilberries) if you follow the rules and obtain a license where required. But, this guidance does not apply to private or allotment gardens. 

While burning grass cuttings may seem like an easy solution to getting rid of your garden waste, it’s not generally recommended. Burning grass clippings can produce pollution and unpleasant smells, and it can also be dangerous. 

Then you need to consider safety – in dry weather conditions, burning grass clippings can start a fire and pose a risk to nearby properties. 

Here’s more detail… 

Burning grass cuttings in your garden

Legal Considerations

If you want to burn grass cuttings in your garden, you should check with your local council to see if there are any restrictions or bylaws in place.

It is worth noting that burning garden waste is subject to the Environmental Protection Act 1990, which makes it an offense to cause a nuisance to others or harm the environment. If you burn garden waste and it causes smoke or fumes that cause a nuisance to your neighbors, you could be fined up to £5,000. 

Environmental concerns

Burning grass cuttings can have negative environmental impacts. Firstly, it releases harmful pollutants into the air, including particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides. These pollutants can cause respiratory problems, especially for people with pre-existing conditions such as asthma or COPD.

Secondly, burning grass cuttings can contribute to climate change by releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere and contributes to global warming. It is important to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Finally, burning grass cuttings can also harm wildlife by destroying habitats and reducing biodiversity. Insects, birds, and small mammals rely on grass and other vegetation for food and shelter. Burning grass cuttings can disrupt these ecosystems and cause long-term damage.

How to get rid of grass cuttings in the UK

While burning grass clippings may seem like a quick and easy solution, it is not the most environmentally friendly method of disposal. Fortunately, there are alternative methods that are more sustainable and beneficial for your garden.


One of the best ways to dispose of grass cuttings is by composting them. Composting is a natural process that turns organic waste into nutrient-rich soil. Grass cuttings are an excellent source of nitrogen, which is essential for plant growth. By composting your grass cuttings, you can create a valuable soil amendment that will improve the health of your garden.

Composting grass cuttings is easy. Simply pile them up in a corner of your garden and let nature do the rest. Over time, the grass cuttings will break down and turn into compost. You can speed up the process by adding other organic materials, such as leaves, food waste, and garden trimmings. Be sure to turn the compost pile regularly to aerate it and help it break down faster.


Another way to dispose of grass cuttings is by using them as mulch. Mulch is a layer of organic material that is spread over the soil to help retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Grass cuttings make excellent mulch because they are high in nitrogen and break down quickly.

To use grass cuttings as mulch, simply spread a thin layer over the soil around your plants. Be careful not to pile the mulch too high, as this can create a barrier that prevents water from reaching the roots. As the grass cuttings break down, they will release nutrients into the soil and improve its structure.

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