As Bonfire Night is now just around the corner, Arlingsworth Solicitors have listed some of the laws and regulations around letting off fireworks. We hope this advice will help you to understand the law, but also help keep you safe too. Find out more below.

Who can buy fireworks?

This depends on the type of firework you’re buying. The kind that you see in supermarkets or from licensed retailers are called Category 2 or 3. These can only be bought by people aged 18 or over, and this includes sparklers. Category 4 fireworks are for professional use only. There’s a common misconception that a special licence or trading is needed to buy professional fireworks, but Category 4s can only be bought by professional firework companies that have year-round insurance and licensed storage. Fireworks can also be bought at any time of the year, however they should only be bought from licensed retailers.

Can you store fireworks?

If you’re buying selection boxes and sparklers from a supermarket, buying in small quantities, or you’re buying your fireworks a day or two before you let them off, you don’t normally need to worry. In these cases storage laws don’t apply. It’s only when you’re storing large quantities of fireworks that you need to be aware of the law.

Can you transport or mail fireworks?

As they are classed as explosives, they therefore cannot be sent through the post, or by a courier. They’re also prohibited items on airlines, ferries and trains. The basic answer to this question, is not to transport them except between buying and when you’re letting them off. The UK Firework Agency has mentioned that some car insurance policies may be voided in the case of transporting fireworks, so it’s best to check with your insurer.

Can you sell fireworks you don’t use?

The short answer is no, unless you hold a valid license. There are two types of licenses for selling fireworks – one that covers the period between Bonfire Night and New Year’s Eve, and one that covers the entire year.

When can I set off fireworks?

It’s another common misconception that you can only set off fireworks around Bonfire Night and NYE. Actually, you can set off them off all year round – on any day of the week, even Sundays. However, you must let them off before 11pm, and not after. It’s also courteous to tell your neighbours in case of issues with pets and children.

There are exceptions to the 11pm rule, and there are as follows:

    • Bonfire Night / Guy Fawkes – until midnight
    • New Year’s Eve – until 1am
    • Diwali – until 1am
    • Chinese New Year – until 1am

Where can I let off fireworks?

It’s actually illegal to light them in the street or a public place such as a park. You should only let off fireworks on private land, such as your garden, or on land where you have the owner’s permission, such as a field used by a farmer. Because of this law, i’s also illegal to let fireworks off on a beach, not to mention that they could be mistaken for distress flares and cause trouble.

That’s our guide to following the laws covering fireworks and firework displays. We hope you found it useful, and we wish you a fun-filled Bonfire Night this November. Do remember to stay safe at all times.

The Arlingsworth Law Team