Fireworks Law in the UK
Watching fireworks is popular and fun. But fireworks are explosives and potentially dangerous, so they need careful handling and storage.
That is why there are laws in place to govern the use and possession of fireworks, and how they are stored and sold.
Legislation has been introduced (see below) to help make fireworks safer to use and to tackle their deliberate misuse. It affects how fireworks are imported, sold and used, and places restrictions on possession.
It means that fireworks will be safer, less noisy and can only be let off at certain times. It also means that those misusing them to either damage property or injure will be able to be dealt with by the relevant authorities.
Fireworks will only be widely available during the weeks leading up to Bonfire Night and a few days before New Year's Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year. For the rest of the year, you will only be able to buy fireworks from shops that are licensed to supply them.
It is an offence under section 80 of the Explosives Act 1875 to throw or set off fireworks in any highway, street, thoroughfare or public place. The power to enforce this section of the Act rests with the police. Anyone found guilty is liable to pay a fine of up to £5,000 and can be imprisoned for up to six months. Penalty notices for disorder (on-the-spot fines) can also be issued for this offence, attracting the upper tier fine of £80.
In Regulations made under the Fireworks Act 2003, it is also an offence for the under 18s to possess fireworks in a public place and for anyone to let fireworks off during night hours (11pm to 7am). Police also have the power to issue penalty notices for disorder for these offences. Again, the offence attracts the upper tier fine of £80.
Under section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 it is an offence to cause any unnecessary suffering to any domestic or captive animals. The penalty on conviction is either imprisonment up to 51 weeks or a fine of up to £20,000 or both. Enforcement of this section of the Act rests with Trading Standards, the Police or the RSPCA as appropriate.
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