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Fireworks and the law

With the 5th November just around the corner the fireworks have started already and they won't be stopping for weeks.

Surely it can't be ok to just pick when you want to let off fireworks?

Well it isn't. The law of that land states you are breaking the law if....

You throw fireworks or set off fireworks in a public place.

Section 80 of the Explosives Act 1875) prohibits throwing or setting off fireworks on any highway, street, thoroughfare or public place. A public place is anywhere other than someone's own back garden. The local park, streets, school yard and bus station are all public places.

You are under the age of 18 and in possession of adult fireworks in a public place.

'Adult fireworks' are defined as any fireworks except for a cap, cracker snap, novelty matches, party poppers, serpents and throwdowns. Even some sparklers are adult fireworks

You are in possession of category 4 fireworks (public display fireworks) and you are not a fireworks professional.

Fireworks Regulations 2004.

You break the curfew on fireworks use

The Fireworks Regulations 2004 make it an offence for any person to use adult fireworks between the hours of 11pm and 7am except for 'permitted' fireworks nights. These exceptions, where the curfew start time is later, are as follows:

5 November: 12 midnight Diwali: 1am New Year's Eve: 1am Chinese New Year : 1am

For all other dates it is illegal to use fireworks between the hours of 11pm and 7am, except for organised displays.

And if you are found to be breaking the law then the punishments include:

  • A maximum fine of £5000 or six months in prison, or both

  • An £80 penalty notice for disorder (PNDs) for persons aged 16 and over

So now you know when you can let off your fireworks and when you can complain about others letting off their fireworks.

More info:

Respect - Fireworks and the law

Fireworks buying laws

Manchester fireworks displays 2008