Throughout the year, fireworks are widely used to mark public and private celebrations, but for many – service veterans and animals in particular – they can cause tremendous stress.
Legislation around fireworks
Combat Stress, the organisation concerned with veterans’ mental health is calling for a ban on noisy fireworks because many experience distress due to sudden flashes and bangs reminding them of the horrors of war.
Legislation covers the sale, possession and use of fireworks and since January 2005 their sale to the public is prohibited, except from licensed traders. However, fireworks can be sold by unlicensed traders for:
- Chinese New Year and the preceding three days,
- Diwali and the proceeding three days,
- Bonfire Night celebrations (15 October to 10 November), and
- New Year celebrations (26 to 31 December).
There are curfews around all of these events to prevent the prolonged use of fireworks.
For instance it is an offence to use fireworks after 11pm and before 7am without permission (except on permitted fireworks nights when the times are extended).
There is legislation around excessive noise and strict rules for manufacturers, importers, distributors and users as well as storage of fireworks.
Using fireworks illegally can result in prosecution and a fine of up to £5,000 and/or a prison sentence of up to 6 months. An on-the-spot fine of £90 may also be levied.
The penalty for committing an offence of supplying a category F2 or F3 firework to any person under 18 years or supplying a category F1 firework to any person under 16 years, is a fine of up to £5,000 and up to 6 months’ imprisonment.
From 1 January 2021, the UKCA mark became the recognised conformity assessment mark for fireworks sold on the GB market.
However, CE marked fireworks that continue to meet EU requirements (where these match UK requirements) can be sold/used on the GB market until 31 December 2022.
Reporting your concerns
If you have concerns over the sale or standard of fireworks available at a premises contact Essex County Council Trading Standards through
If fireworks are being set off outside of the permitted hours or in a public space contact Essex Police at
Organised firework displays
Visit the Health and Safety Executive website for guidance for putting on a major public event.
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