Why worry about fireworks?
Fireworks can frighten people and animals. The elderly and children are frequently scared and intimidated by firework noise. After all, fireworks are explosives. For animals, the impact of a noise can also be serious. Disturbing domestic pets can be dangerous too - as panicked pets may be vicious and destructive.
The bright colours and effects in fireworks are produced by a cocktail of chemicals. When fireworks go off they emit light, heat and sound energy, along with carbon dioxide and other gases and residues. The exact emissions will depend on the firework, but as the main component of fireworks is gunpowder, sulphur compounds are emitted. On and around Bonfire Night (November 5th) in the UK there is often a noticeable increase in pollution, particularly in levels of particulates and dioxins. Current research indicates that deposits of pollutants from fireworks do not pose a risk to soil or water. It is estimated that 14% of UK dioxins are emitted around Bonfire Night, although much of this comes from bonfires rather than fireworks.
Fireworks are explosives and must be used with caution. For information on firework safety contact the Department of Trade and Industry, who co-ordinate national fireworks safety campaigns.
For further information please contact:
Department of Trade and Industry
Enquiry Unit, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET
Do's and Don'ts
Individuals can store fireworks for private use for up to 14 days, provided they are kept in a safe place.
Fireworks and the law - View Questions & Answers supplied by The British Firework Association
What laws cover nuisance and danger caused by fireworks?
The Fireworks Regulations 2004 places new restrictions on the use and sale of fireworks.
Other than this, there is no specific law to deal with noise nuisance caused by fireworks. The ordinary noise nuisance laws will not be application to firework noise as:
When can I use fireworks?
The Fireworks Regulations 2004 prohibit anyone under 18 from possessing fireworks, and anyone except professionals from possessing display fireworks in a public place. These regulations also prohibit the use of fireworks at night (11pm - 7am) in England and Wales, with extensions to the curfew for the following festivals:
These regulations are enforced by the police. There is a penalty of up to £5,000 or 6 months in prison for breach of curfew. The supply, purchase or possession of excessively loud fireworks over 120 decibels are also prohibited.
Sale of Fireworks - Enforced by Trading Standards at Surrey County Council
Under the Fireworks (Safety) Regulations 1997 all fireworks for use by the public must meet British Standards BS 7114. Under these regulations, the sale of fireworks to under 18's is banned.
Since January 2005, sections 9 and 11 of the Fireworks Regulations 2004 prohibit the sale of fireworks to the public from unlicensed traders except for Chinese New Year and the preceding 3 days; Diwali and the preceding 3 days; 15 October to 10 November (Bonfire Night celebrations) and 26 - 31 December (for New Year celebrations). Traders will need to apply for a licence to supply fireworks year round.
Under the Control of Explosives Regulations 1991, it is an offence to keep fireworks (except those for private use) on premises that have not been registered for this purpose. Individuals can store fireworks for private use for up to 14 days, provided they are kept in a safe place.
The throwing or setting off of fireworks in a highway or street is an offence under the Explosives Act 1875. This is enforced by the police, with a fine of up to £5,000.
It is an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to animals under the Protection of Animals Act 1911. A penalty of up to £5,000 and/or 6 months in prison is enforceable by the police, trading standards or RSPCA.
For more information from Surrey Heath Borough Council contact:
Environmental Health Tel: 01276 707360