Fireworks and the law

Fireworks are now widely available for sale meaning that many people buy them and put on their own private displays at home. As with everything we do, there are potential problems that you could run into with this and laws that you need to know about. Here’s the key points:

When you can set fireworks off

By law, fireworks must not be set off between 11pm and 7am with the exception of Bonfire Night (when the cut-off is midnight) and New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali (1am), but they can be used all year round.
When and where you can purchase fireworks

In January 2005 the law changed and the effect was that you can now only buy fireworks from registered sellers for private use on between 15 October to 10 November; 26 to 31 December; and three days before Diwali and Chinese New Year. At all other times, you can only purchase fireworks from licensed shops.

Your neighbours

There is no legal requirement to inform your neighbours that you are going to be setting off fireworks. However, you need to consider two points:

  1. If you cause any damage to your neighbours’ property with a firework or cause any injury to anyone, you will be held liable and therefore could be on the end of a compensation claim or at worse a criminal charge; and
  2. If you cause distress to any animals as a consequence of your firework display you could be committing a criminal offence. Section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, therefore says that it is an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to animals



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