Frequently asked questions about fireworks
For safety guidelines and advice, see the Firework Code.
- Can the police do anything about fireworks?
- Is the sale of fireworks controlled?
- What can the council do about firework noise?
- What is sensible firework use?
1. Can the police do anything about fireworks?
The Fireworks Regulations 2004 prohibit the use of fireworks between 11pm and 7am. The exceptions are:
- Bonfire Night, when the cut off is midnight
- New Year's Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, when the cut off is 1am
The same regulations ban children and young people under the age of 18 from buying or possessing fireworks. It is also against the law to put fireworks in letter boxes or to use them to cause any other criminal damage, to throw fireworks in the street or at individuals and to set fireworks off within 25 metres of a main road. Since the police are the enforcers of these regulations, if they are not complied with, the offender can be reported and punished. For more information, visit Fireworks: the law.
2. Is the sale of fireworks controlled?
Fireworks cannot be bought by anyone under the age of 18. If a shop wants to stock fireworks it needs to register. There is a charge for registering premises and there are some rules that set out how fireworks should be stocked and displayed in the shop.
If you would like to register your premises to sell fireworks, read our Licensing Fireworks page for more information.
3. What can the council do about firework noise?
There is no law that deals with nuisance noise produced by fireworks if they are used within the time restrictions stated in The Fireworks Regulations 2004: the setting off of fireworks is prohibited between 11pm and 7am, except on Guy Fawkes night when fireworks are permitted until midnight and New Year's Eve, throughout the Chinese New Year and Diwali when the cut off time is 1am.
4. What is sensible firework use?
Holding your own display? Typically a rocket can reach 150 miles an hour and a single sparkler reaches a temperature of up to 2,000°C. That's over 15 times the boiling point of water: fireworks must be treated carefully and with respect. Here are a few key guidelines to help you stay safe.
- Keep fireworks in a metal box and take them out one at a time.
- Don't go back to a firework once it has been lit.
- Keep a bucket of sand, water or a garden hose handy.
- Consider the wind direction and the location of nearby properties, particularly those with thatched roofs.
- If you are having a bonfire, check that no animals or small children are hiding inside it before you set it alight. Watch children closely and make sure the bonfire is fully extinguished before leaving it last thing at night.
- Avoid alcohol - it increases the risk of injury and also affects adults' ability to properly supervise children during the display.