The following information provides details to questions frequently asked about Fireworks. Click on a question below, or scroll down to the information you require:
From 7 August 2004, Regulation 7 of the Fireworks Regulations 2004 came into effect, which means that it is now a criminal offence to use 'adult fireworks' during the night hours of 11pm to 7am, except on a 'permitted firework night', which are:
Enforcement of Regulation 7 is the responsibility of the local police.
From 1 January 2005, suppliers of 'adult fireworks' will require a licence to sell fireworks unless sales are only taking place:
Any applications for licenses should be made to the Trading Standards Office responsible for the area in which the applicant wishes to sell the fireworks. There will be a fee to pay (not exceeding £500) and the licence may be refused or revoked at any time.
Until 1 January 2005, the Fireworks Industry will continue to operate to a voluntary Code of Practice, which restricts sale of fireworks to the Public to three weeks leading up to November 5th and a few days after, and a similar period over New Year.
Unfortunately as it is a voluntary Code, it is not possible to take enforcement action where it is ignored.
The Fireworks Regulations 2004 have been made under the Fireworks Act 2003 and the Consumer Protection Act 1987.
This new legislation enables the Government to regulate the use of fireworks in order to reduce noise, nuisance and anti-social use of fireworks.
The new controls introduce:
The following fireworks are banned from sale to the general public:
Information on firework safety is available from:
It is an offence for any person, in any street and to the obstruction, annoyance or danger of the residents or passengers, to throw or set fire to any firework. Incidents of this nature should be reported to the police.
From 1st January 2005 anyone wanting to sell 'adult fireworks' outside the allowed days will require to be licensed.
It does and it has. The Government has recently introduced a number of measures to regulate the supply, possession and use of fireworks under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 and the Fireworks Act 2003. The introduction of any further measures at this time would be premature given the recent changes to the Regulations. We will, however, keep the effectiveness of the new measures under constant review.
In recent years approximately 1,000 people per year have required treatment at hospital casualty departments, with 5% of these being classed as "serious accidents" requiring a stay of one or more nights in hospital. With the new regulations it is hoped that this level of injuries will be reduced.
The DTI runs an annual firework safety campaign working closely with the police, fire brigades, and local authority environmental health, education and trading standards departments as well as certain charities. In addition, many local authorities and fire services run local firework safety campaigns in the run-up to the firework season and play an active role in informing retailers of their legal obligations.
The Department has also launched an educational Firework Safety website aimed at adults, children and teachers which offers advice on fireworks and the law, and where information leaflets, the Fireworks Code and campaign packs for schools may be viewed and downloaded.
No. The Government does not believe that the case has been made for banning the sale of fireworks to the public. We have looked very closely at this, and believe that such a ban could lead to the development of a black market in fireworks and could also encourage people to produce homemade devices. When used sensibly and with consideration for others, fireworks are a very popular form of family entertainment.
Under section 1 of the Protection of Animals Act 1911 it is an offence to cause any unnecessary suffering to any domestic or captive animals. The penalty on conviction is a fine of up to £5,000 or up to six months imprisonment, or both. Enforcement of this section of the Act rests with trading standards, the police or the RSPCA as appropriate.
This is already an offence under section 80 of the Explosives Act 1875 which prohibits the throwing or setting off of fireworks in any highway, street, thoroughfare or public place. The power to enforce this section of the Act rests with the police. Anyone found guilty is liable to a fine of up to £5,000. Fixed penalty notices (on-the-spot fines) can also be issued for this offence.
In addition the new Fireworks Regulations 2004 make it an offence for anyone under the age of 18 to possess fireworks in a public place. Those most prone to this sort of behaviour are the under 18s and it is hoped that this regulation, which is also punishable by fixed penalty notice, will further reduce such incidents.
The Government has introduced a curfew on the use of fireworks during night hours (11pm to 7am) and have also imposed a 120 decibel (AI) limit on category 3 fireworks (consumer display fireworks). In addition to these statutory measures, the fireworks industry have pledged to work to achieve a lower level of between 113 and 115 decibels (AI).
In certain circumstances excessive noise from fireworks could be deemed a statutory nuisance under Part III of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 which is the responsibility of the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) . This Act provides local authorities with powers to prevent or abate noise nuisance from premises and land. It is for local authority environmental health officers to judge whether a problem complained about may be considered a "statutory nuisance" and to act accordingly.
Section 5 of the Fireworks Act 2003 does not allow for the regulation of category 1 (party poppers, etc.) and 2 fireworks (garden fireworks). However, given the generally small nature of such fireworks (evidenced by the short distance for measuring noise emitted from them), we consider that these fireworks do not present as much of a nuisance as their category 3 cousins.
Notwithstanding the above, the Government intends to make it a statutory requirement that all fireworks comply with the new harmonised European Standard on fireworks (BS EN1403). This standard is expected to be completed sometime in 2005 and will replace the current BS 7114. Among other things, this standard sets out maximum noise levels for category 2 and 3 fireworks – that level being the same as stipulated in the 2004 Regulations for Category 3 fireworks (120 decibels). The Government will make this a legal requirement by referencing this standard under the Consumer Protection Act 1987.
It is an offence to keep fireworks (except those for private use) on premises which have not been registered or licensed for that purpose. The Health and Safety Executive and Trading Standards vigorously enforce this law.
Under the Control of Explosives Regulations 1991 individuals can store fireworks for private use for up to 14 days provided they are kept in a safe and suitable place with due precautions for public safety.
It is also an offence for any person other than a fireworks professional to possess category 4 fireworks. This offence is enforced the police.
It is sometimes argued that the use of fireworks should be restricted to licensed organised displays. But fireworks can provide a popular form of family entertainment provided they are used safely and the Government is not persuaded that there is a case for banning the retail sale of fireworks.
Many public displays are covered by the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 . This requires that the safety of operators and the public must be safeguarded. While we encourage all operators to be properly trained, the Government does not have any immediate plans to require display operators to undergo mandatory training as there is little evidence to suggest that the injuries sustained at fireworks displays are as a result of operator incompetence.
Most fireworks sold to the general public in the UK originate in China. But whether fireworks are imported or made here in the UK, all which are intended for use by the public, must meet the requirements of the Fireworks (Safety) Regulations 1997 (as amended), the Fireworks Regulations 2004 and the British Standard BS 7114.
Further information on the Regulations and the DTI's firework safety campaign material can be obtained from visiting the DTI's Firework Safety website .
Fireworks Regulations 2004
Fireworks Act 2003
Fireworks (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 2004
Fireworks (Safety) Regulations 1997