Burning in rural areas and the wider region

You must ensure that you do not cause a smoke or odour nuisance outside your boundary.

Rules within Northland

  • In Northland, you are only allowed to burn untreated wood, paper, cardboard or vegetation
  • Materials such as plastic, rubber, carpet or treated timber must not be burned
  • You must ensure that you do not cause a smoke or odour nuisance outside your boundary
  • Let green waste dry out and turn brown first - damp fires generate smoke
  • All items must have been generated onsite. You cannot burn rubbish or materials brought from another location. You cannot take your waste to another location to burn 
  • You can burn offal or animal carcasses when on production land
  • If you are planning on burning for more than 24 hours you must notify neighbours within 100 metres of the burn site
  • Choose the best weather conditions to avoid smoke nuisance.

Alternatives to burning - rural

There are lots of ways you can dispose of your waste without burning it. You can:

  • Recycle plastics, paper, glass and tins by placing them in your recycle bin or take them to your local recycling centre
  • Compost garden waste including clippings, trimmings, small branches and leaves
  • Mulch larger branches (up to 30cm in diameter) using a chipper or shredder and add to your garden as a soil conditioner 
  • Use a worm farm to dispose of vegetable peelings and food scraps
  • Take larger quantities of refuse to a transfer station for disposal
  • Larger branches and logs can be cut to size and used as firewood during the winter in an internal domestic fireplace
  • Hire a mini-skip and place your waste material in the skip for removal.

Cooking fires, kilns and bonfires 

Burning for cooking - including BBQ, hangi or umu - is permitted, along with wood fired kiln and in some cases community bonfires, but you must not cause smoke or odour nuisance outside of your boundaries.

More information about air quality rules

Our Proposed Regional Plan says what you can and what you can’t burn, what needs a resource consent and what is prohibited.

Go to the Proposed Regional Plan for Northland and information


Those found breaching regional rules may face enforcement action and this can include being issued with an instant fine of up to $1,000.