Fireworks

Fireworks are explosives and must be used with caution. The British Fireworks Association has advice on how to use them safely and legally.

Noise

Fireworks are very loud and can frighten people and animals. Please consider others when setting off fireworks, particularly outside of events such as Chinese New Year, Diwali, New Year and Bonfire Night.

  • Tell your neighbours when you plan to have a firework display
  • Avoid buying the noisiest fireworks
  • Keep animals safely away from fireworks
  • Be considerate – plan your display for a weekend and make sure the noise is over by 11pm
  • Listen to complaints

Air pollution

Fireworks emit sulphur compounds which can contribute to air pollution.

  • Avoid letting off fireworks if the air quality is already poor
  • Avoid letting off fireworks in strong winds or misty weather
  • Don’t let off fireworks in enclosed spaces

Safety

  • Never return to a firework after it has been lit
  • Never throw or play with fireworks
  • Always follow instructions carefully
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box, away from children and pets
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket
  • Light a firework at arms length then stand well back
  • Keep pets indoors
  • Never give sparklers to very young children
  • Wear gloves when using sparklers and put them in cold water once used

Fireworks/explosives licence

Guidance notes on applying for a fireworks/explosives licence.

Firework laws and regulations

The Fireworks Regulations 2004 places restrictions on the use and sale of fireworks. These regulations:

  • prohibit anyone under 18 buying fireworks
  • prohibit anyone other than professionals having fireworks in a public place
  • prohibit the use of fireworks from 11pm to 7am (with the exception of Chinese New Year, Diwali, New Year and Bonfire Night)
  • prohibit the supply, purchase or possession of excessively loud fireworks (over 120 decibels)

The Control of Explosives Regulations 1991:

  • prohibit the storing of fireworks on premises that have not been registered for this use*.

*Private individuals over the age of 18 can buy and then store fireworks for private use for up to 14 days, provided they are kept in a safe place.

The Explosives Act 1875:

  • prohibits throwing fireworks or setting them off in a street

The Protection of Animals Act 1911:

  • prohibits unnecessary suffering to animals

These regulations are enforceable by the police and have penalties of up to £5,000 or 6 months in prison.