Fireworks are noisy (which can upset very young or elderly people as well as pets), they can cause damage and they can cause serious injuries if not used properly.
You have to be 16 or over to buy ‘novelty’ fireworks, such as sparklers, caps and ‘serpents’, and 18 or over to buy all other types of fireworks.
It is an offence to let fireworks off between 11pm and 7am - except on 05 November, Diwali, New Year’s Eve and Chinese New Year when the curfew is 1am. It is also an offence to set off fireworks in a public place.
Please think of potential dangers before setting off Chinese lanterns. There is a risk, particularly in rural areas, of them landing still alight near hay barns and there is also a danger of livestock ingesting pieces of wire from discarded lanterns.
What is a firework?
“A pyrotechnic article intended for entertainment purposes (“pyrotechnic article” has the meaning set out in regulation 3).
The Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2015
There are four categories of firework:
These are suitable for use inside domestic buildings, and must be marked 'indoor'.
These are for outdoor use in gardens and paddocks etc. and require a minimum spectator distance of five metres, and must be marked 'outdoor'.
These are display fireworks for use in large outdoor spaces, e.g. recreation grounds, large fields, etc., and require spectator distances of a minimum of 25 metres, and must be marked 'display'.
These are for specialist use and may only be used by a professionally trained and qualified person, generally at an organised public fireworks display, and therefore the general public are prohibited from possession such fireworks.
What are the rules regarding fireworks?
‘The Use of Fireworks at Night’ - Regulation 7, of the 2004 Regulations states that adult fireworks must:
Not be used during the night, between 11pm and 7am the following day, except during a permitted fireworks night, i.e. New Year, Chinese New Year or Diwali.
What are the age limits on fireworks?
Can only be bought by persons aged 18 years or over and may not be possessed by persons aged less than 18 years in a public place, with certain exemptions. Persons less than 18 years who possess a firework in a public place are contravening Section 11 of the Fireworks Act 2003 and Regulation 4 of the Fireworks Regulations 2004, which can result in six months' imprisonment and/or a fine.
Anyone aged 16 or over may possess any of the following:
Caps, cracker snaps (the bit in a cracker that goes bang when the cracker is pulled apart), novelty matches, party poppers, serpents, throw downs and sparklers.
Throwing a firework
Any person who throws a firework into a public place will be contravening Section 80 of the Explosives Act, which can result in six months imprisonment and/or fine.
Possessing a Category 4 firework
Any person who possesses a category 4 firework will be contravening Section 11 of the Fireworks Act 2003 and Regulation 5 of the Fireworks Regulations 2004, which can also result in six months' imprisonment and/or a fine.