Fireworks are widely used to mark public and private celebrations, as well as traditional events. While adding enjoyment to such occasions, fireworks can also frighten and disturb people and animals, cause annoyance and damage.
How to enjoy fireworks without causing problems with neighbours
- Tell your neighbours you are going to use fireworks and how long they are likely to last
- When buying fireworks try to avoid the really noisy ones
- Make sure pets and other animals are safely away from fireworks
- Avoid letting fireworks off in unsuitable weather (still and misty air or strong winds)
- Avoid letting off fireworks in enclosed areas, noise will bounce off buildings and smoke cannot disperse.
- Clear up firework debris afterwards and dispose of it safely
Fireworks and the law
Supply of fireworks
- Sale of fireworks to anyone under 18 is banned except:
- Caps, cracker snaps and party poppers which can be sold to persons over the age of 16
- Large powerful display fireworks, including ariel shells and mortars are banned from supply to the public
- Supply of fireworks louder than 120 decibels is banned
- From January 2005 suppliers of fireworks will need to apply for a licence to supply fireworks all year round.
Storage of Fireworks
- It is an offence to keep fireworks (except those for private use) on a premises that has not be registered for this purpose. Individuals can store fireworks for private use up to 14 days, provided they are kept in a safe place.
Trading Standards at Hertfordshire County Council enforce the requirements relating to supply and storage of fireworks and the Consumer Advice Service can be contacted on 08454040506
Use of fireworks
- Throwing or setting off fireworks in the street is an offence
- Anyone under 18 may not possess a firework in a public place (except caps, cracker snaps and party poppers)
- The use of fireworks is prohibited at night (11pm-7am) except for the following:
- Until 1am on the night of the Chinese New Year
- Until 1am on the night of Diwali
- Until 1am on New Year's Eve
- Until midnight on 5 November
The police enforce the requirements relating to the use of fireworks and can be contacted on 0845 330 0222
Noise from fireworks
Local authority officers investigate noise nuisance. For a noise to be a Statutory Nuisance it has to be on a regular basis and take account of the duration of the event. The source of the noise has to be identified. As firework noise is short lived, in practice it is difficult to for an officer to locate the source and witness the noise.