Fireworks spark excitement and joy for many of us, but understanding the regulations surrounding their purchase and use is important to ensure everyone’s safety. 

In the UK, laws and regulations govern every aspect, from buying to letting off fireworks. 

So as pyrotechnic prodigies here at Showtime Fireworks, we will take a deep dive into these regulations and break them down so they are easy to understand. 

First, let’s get a takeaway so you can see it at a glance. 

  • You must be 18 or older to purchase fireworks, though there are limited exceptions such as being 16 for certain types like sparklers and indoor items.
  • Fireworks should be discharged by 11 pm, with some exceptions applying in specific circumstances.
  • No formal training or licensing is required to purchase and utilise fireworks in England, Scotland, and Wales.
  • It is illegal to possess or set off fireworks, smokes, or flares at a football match.
  • Fireworks should only be discharged on private property or with explicit permission; using them in public areas like streets is prohibited.
  • Fireworks can be bought and used on any day of the year, not exclusively around Bonfire Night or New Year’s Eve.
  • Scotland has introduced new laws regarding licensing, training, and restricted usage dates, but not all have been fully implemented yet.

Ok, so now you’ve seen the short answer, let’s begin our journey and begin with the laws around buying the best fireworks in the UK or even if you are looking for cheap fireworks in the UK and beyond! 

Understanding UK Firework Laws

Purchasing Fireworks: Age Restrictions and Legal Channels

To kick things off, let’s talk about buying fireworks in the UK. You need to be 18 or older to purchase types of fireworks. 

Whether you’re planning a dazzling display for Bonfire Night or ringing in the New Year with a bang, you can buy fireworks throughout the year from specialist shops or online firework retailers.

However, it’s worth noting that fireworks cannot be sent through regular postal services. Instead, they must be shipped using specialised explosives couriers or the retailer’s delivery vans. This specialised handling ensures safety and compliance with regulations, which is why the cost of fireworks delivery can be quite high.”


Categories of Fireworks: What You Can Buy


Fireworks available to the general public fall into two main categories: Category 1 (generally indoor fireworks such as sparklers on cakes and party poppers) Category F2 and Category F3.  

Read more on - Understanding Firework Categories

These classifications indicate the safety distance required between spectators and the fireworks. 

Category F2 fireworks typically require a safety distance of at least 8 meters, while Category F3 fireworks need a larger safety distance of 25 meters.

When purchasing fireworks, always ensure they are marked as CE compliant, indicating that they meet rigorous safety standards. 

They should also not exceed 120 decibels in sound. The reason for this is that loud noises can be startling or even harmful, especially for sensitive ears. 

To put it in perspective the roar of a jet engine or a lively concert are both around 120 decibels! 

It's also important to be aware that certain fireworks, such as bangers, are prohibited in the UK due to safety concerns. UK legislation also restricts items like airbombs, aerial shells, and jumping jacks.

 

Setting Off Fireworks: Time, Place, and Responsibilities



Now, let's talk about when and where you can set off fireworks. 

Time Of Year
 

In the UK, individuals are legally permitted to let off fireworks at any time of the year. Whether it's a spontaneous celebration or a planned event, you're free to light up the sky with the best fireworks in the UK!

However, there are some important rules to follow regarding the time of day you can set off fireworks.


Time Of Day
 

Anyone who wants to understand UK fireworks laws should know that fireworks should not be let off after 11 pm, except on certain occasions such as Bonfire Night, New Year's Eve, Diwali, or Chinese New Year. 

On these events, fireworks can be let off for extended times up until midnight or 1 am depending on the event. These curfews also apply to professionally fired shows. 

  • Bonfire Night  - November 5th, 2024): Midnight  
  • New Year’s Eve - December 31st, 2024: 1 am.
  • Diwali varies, 2024 date November 1st: 1 am.
  • Chinese New Year varies, the 2025  date is between January 29th and February 12th: 1 am.

Public Places
 

When setting off fireworks, always do so in your garden or on land where you have permission. 

It is illegal to let off fireworks in public places such as streets or parks. 


Beaches
 

If you're considering a beach display, be cautious, as the legality can vary depending on ownership and local regulations.

It's best to be careful, especially during popular times like New Year's Eve when fireworks are often set off on beaches. 

Just remember, you could get in trouble for things like public disorder or littering. And even if you think a part of the beach is private, you still need permission from the owner to light fireworks there.


Neighbours
 

While it's not a legal requirement to inform your neighbours about your fireworks display, it's a courteous gesture that can help avoid any potential issues.


Other Restrictions
 

In Scotland, additional restrictions apply, with fireworks not allowed before 6 pm.

 

Training and Licensing: What You Need to Know


However, laws may differ in Northern Ireland.

Scotland is currently considering implementing a licensing requirement for the purchase of fireworks by the public. Stay informed about any updates in your region.

And a note on training. Even though there's no formal training available for the general public in the UK, many of the best UK fireworks suppliers offer in-house training for their customers.

Insurance

In the UK, organising a public firework display falls under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, which requires organisers to ensure the safety of attendees and nearby properties. 

Public liability insurance is mandated by law to comply with these regulations and protect against potential legal liabilities.

In addition to public liability insurance, organisers of public fireworks displays often obtain specialised event insurance tailored to cover specific risks associated with fireworks. 

This may include property damage insurance to protect against accidental fires or explosions, as well as cancellation insurance to mitigate financial losses if the event is called off due to unforeseen circumstances like adverse weather conditions or regulatory issues. 

These additional coverages provide comprehensive protection and peace of mind for organisers and attendees alike.

Read more in my other helpful article  - Do I Need Firework Insurance?

 

Safe Storage: Understanding the Regulations



When it comes to storing fireworks, as you would imagine, safety regulations are extremely important. 

If you are buying fireworks to let off that same day or evening, you are not subject to any storage limits, so that’s worth knowing!  

Different rules apply depending on the classification of the fireworks.

Fireworks are classified as either 1.3G or 1.4G, indicating their hazard level. Storage limits are determined based on the Net Explosive Content (NEC) of the fireworks.

For example, if you’re storing 1.4G fireworks:

  • Up to 5kg NEC can be stored indefinitely.
  • Up to 50kg NEC can be stored for up to 21 consecutive days.
  • Up to 250kg NEC can be stored for up to 5 consecutive days.

Similar government rules apply to 1.3G fireworks, with slight variations in storage limits.

It’s crucial to follow these storage regulations to ensure the safety of yourself and others.

Read aboutCan Fireworks Go Off On Their Own?

 

 

Amendments and Updates: Keeping Abreast of Changes



It’s important to keep up with changes in fireworks laws because they can change over time. 

Even though law makers aim to keep rules clear and consistent, updates happen. For instance, Scotland recently made some changes to its fireworks laws, putting stricter limits on when and where fireworks can be sold and used. 

These changes are all about making sure fireworks are handled safely and responsibly.

By staying informed about these updates, people can make sure they’re following the law and keeping themselves and others safe. 

It’s also a chance to adapt and maybe rethink how we use fireworks, so everyone can enjoy them without any unnecessary risks. 

Basically, it’s about finding that balance between having fun and making sure everyone stays out of harm’s way! 

So just to wrap up here’s a takeaway of the most important points. 

 

 

Understanding UK Firework Laws - To Finish With…


Ultimately, whether you’re buying, setting off, or storing fireworks, it’s really important to use them responsibly.

Understanding and adhering to the regulations ensures a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

By following the guidelines outlined in our guide, you can celebrate special occasions with dazzling displays. This ensures you prioritise safety and comply with the law!

If you are looking for fireworks for sale or even next-day fireworks then head over to our store to discover Deals, Bundles, Discounted Packages and more! 

 

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