The Fireworks Regulations 2004 prohibit anyone under 18 from possessing fireworks, and anyone except professionals from possessing display fireworks in a public place.
These regulations also prohibit the use of fireworks at night (11pm - 7am) in England and Wales, with extensions to the curfew for the following festivals:
- Until 01:00 on the night of the Chinese New Year
- Until 01:00 on the night of Diwali
- Until 01:00 on the night on New Years Eve
- Until Midnight on 5 November
The police enforce these regulations. There is a penalty of up to £5000 or 6 months in prison for breach of curfew. The supply, purchase or possession of excessively loud fireworks over 120 decibels is also prohibited.
Fireworks - Why worry?
Fireworks can frighten and intimidate people, especially the elderly. Animals have been scared to death - literally - by fireworks; others may be startled leading to injury and accidents.
2. Air Pollution
Fireworks can be very colourful and a cocktail of chemicals causes this. On or around Bonfire Night there is often a noticeable increase in air pollution from fireworks and bonfires.
Sale of Fireworks
The sale of fireworks to the public from unlicensed traders is prohibited except for:
- Chinese New Year and the preceding 3 days
- Diwali and the preceding 3 days
- 15 October to 10 November (Bonfire Night celebrations)
- 26 - 31 December (for New Year celebrations)
Traders will need to apply for a licence to supply fireworks year round.
It is an offence to keep fireworks (except those for private use) on premises that have not been registered for this purpose. Individuals can store fireworks for private use for up to 14 days, provided they are kept in a safe place.
Under the Fireworks (Safety) Regulations 1997 all fireworks for use by the public must meet British Standards BS 7114. Under these regulations, the sale of fireworks to under 18's is banned.
Useful things to remember
- Tell neighbours if you are going to be letting off fireworks - particularly important if they are elderly, have children or pets
- Use appropriate fireworks - when buying fireworks, try to avoid really noisy ones. Your supplier should be able to tell you what they are selling
- Make sure pets and other animals are safely away from fireworks
- Consider timing - if you are using fireworks for a celebration, a Friday or Saturday is preferable, and make sure they are over by 11pm
- Avoid letting off fireworks in unsuitable weather - if it is still and misty or air quality is poor, pollution could be a problem. Strong winds can be hazardous. Check air quality on 0800 556677 or www.airquality.co.uk
- Let off your fireworks in an open garden area - noise bounces off buildings and smoke and pollution can build up in enclosed spaces
- If a neighbour complains that you are disturbing them, their pets or livestock - be considerate
- After your display, clear up firework fallout and dispose of it safely