Rossendale Borough Council

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Fireworks

Information on fireworks

Fireworks are widely used to mark public and private celebrations as well as traditional events. While adding excitement to occasions, fireworks can also frighten and disturb people and animals, cause annoyance and impact on air quality.

Why worry about fireworks?

Noise: Fireworks can frighten people and animals. In particular children and the elderly can be intimidated and scared by firework noise. Farm and domestic animals can be startled and panic.
Air pollution: The bright colours and effects in fireworks are produced by a cocktail of chemicals. Fireworks emit light, heat and sound energy along with carbon dioxide and other gases and residues. On and around bonfire night there is often a noticeable increase in pollution from particulates and dioxins.
Safety: Fireworks are explosive and must be used with caution. In 2005 990 people received treatment for firework injuries.

Fireworks and the Law

Supply of fireworks

All fireworks for sale buy use by the public must in compliance with the Pyrotechnics Articles (Safety) Regulations 2010 and should be "CE" marked and thus comply with the Regulations. In Rossendale the Regulations are enforced by Trading Standards at Lancashire County Council Tel: 01772 533569.

Nuisance and danger caused by fireworks

If an Environmental Health Officer judges noise from fireworks to be a statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, they can issue a noise abatement notice - however, as firework noise is short lived, in practice it can prove difficult to locate the source and determine statutory nuisance.

Under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 the Police or the Council can apply to magistrates for an anti-social behaviour order where anyone has cause 'harassment, alarm or distress'. Disobeying an order carries a maximum penalty of a five year prison sentence.

Fixed Penalty Notices

Throwing or setting off fireworks in the street is an offence under the Explosives Act 1875. This is enforced by the Police and a fixed penalty notice of £80 applies.

When can I use fireworks?

The Firework Regulations 2004 prohibit anyone under 18 from possessing fireworks, and anyone except professionals from possessing display fireworks. These regulations also prohibit use of fireworks at night (11.00pm -7.00am) with extensions for the following event:

  • On New Year’s Eve until 1.00am on New Year’s Day
  • On 5th November till midnight
  • First day of Chinese New Year until 1.00am the following day
  • On the day of Diwali until 1.00am the following day.

These regulations are enforced by the police. There is a penalty of up to £5000 or 6 months imprisonment for breach of the curfew.

Fireworks are widely used to mark public and private celebrations as well as traditional events. While adding excitement to occasions, fireworks can also frighten and disturb people and animals, cause annoyance and impact on air quality.