Watching fireworks can be great fun but they can cause problems if they are not used safely or events well organised. Every year children and adults are hurt by fireworks or displays cause nuisance which could have been avoided if some basic rules were followed.
Before the Display
- Check with Environmental Services that the proposed event will not cause a noise nuisance and is allowed at the premises.
- Check that the fireworks are suitable for the size of the garden/land and conform to BS 7114.
- Nominate one person as responsible for the fireworks.
- Advice can be obtained from the Health and Safety Executive or Firework Safety website.
- Help protect your dog on firework night.
During the Display
- Keep people back from the area where fireworks are being kept and lit.
- Have some fire fighting equipment available.
- Provide proper supports or launchers for fireworks.
- Always supervise children.
Fireworks and the Law
The Fireworks Regulations 2004 restrict who can store, sell or possess fireworks. It also restricts the type of firework that can be possessed by the public and where and when they can be used.
- It is an offence for a person under the age of 18 to possess an "adult firework" in a public place.
- An adult firework is any firework (except for a cap, cracker snap, novelty match, party popper, serpent, sparkler or throw-down).
- It is now an offence for any person (except for certain occupations) to possess a Category 4 firework.
- Category 4 fireworks are the type of firework used by professional display companies. They will carry a notice stating the category and stating they may not be sold to the general public.
It is an offence to set off fireworks during the night hours. This is commonly referred to as the curfew period and applies between 11.00 pm each night and 7.00am in the morning. There are four exceptions to the curfew period:
- Until 1am following the first day of Chinese New Year
- Until midnight on November 5th
- Until 1am on the day following Diwali day
- Until 1am on the day following December 31st
The Fireworks Regulations 2004 are enforced by the police. There is a penalty of up to £5000 or 6 months in prison for breach of the curfew.
It is an offence for anyone to supply or expose for supply any adult fireworks without being registered by the local authority or other licensing authority.
Registered firework retailers must only sell fireworks during the defined selling periods, which are:
- Bonfire Night Period: 15th October to 10th November (inclusive).
- New Year Period: 26th December to 31st December each year
- Diwali: Diwali and 3 days before.
- Chinese New Year: Chinese New Year and 3 days before.
If you believe someone is selling fireworks illegally, please contact Worcestershire County Council Trading Standards office.