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What is the law relating to fireworks?

The law states that you can only buy ‘adult’* (see below) fireworks if you are 18 or over.

When can I buy fireworks?

Registered sellers may only sell fireworks (ie, for domestic displays) including sparklers, to private users on the following dates:

  • 15 October - 10 November
  • 26 - 31 December
  • 3 days before Diwali and Chinese New Year

At any other time, fireworks can only be purchased from licensed shops.

When am I allowed to set off fireworks?

It is against the law for anyone to set off fireworks between 11pm - 7am, with the following exceptions to these rules:

  • Bonfire night (up to midnight)
  • New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year (up to 1am)

You must not set off or throw fireworks (including sparklers) in the street or other public areas.

It’s best to check with your local council to see if they have any local rules regarding the setting off of fireworks.

It is also advisable and polite to inform your neighbours if you are planning on setting off fireworks.  This will allow them to make plans for any children/pets that may be frightened by them.

What happens if I break the law?

You can be fined up to £5000 and given a prison sentence of up to 6 months for selling or using fireworks illegally. You can also be fined £90 on-the-spot.

* ‘Adult’ fireworks : Category 2 & 3 (doesn’t include things like party poppers)

Category 1: classed as indoor fireworks

Category 2:  suited to smaller back gardens and have a minimum safety distance of 5 or 8 meters

Category 3:  suited to larger gardens and displays and have a minimum safety distance of 25 meters.

Category 4:  can only be used by professional display operators.

Published on 17th October 2018
(Last updated 18th October 2018)

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