Despite an online petition being signed by over 294,000 people, the government has decided not to go ahead with calls for tighter fireworks restrictions.
This is welcome news for us as a fireworks retailer but we are accepting of the fact that there are measures that can be taken to ensure your enjoyment does not become a nuisance to others.
The debate was sparked by a petition titled “Ban the sale of fireworks to the public. Displays for licenced venues only” and is the third parliamentary debate on the subject since 2016.
Whilst there will not be tighter restrictions, all of the MPs who took part in the debate on Monday (26th November) were in agreement that change is needed.
Parliamentary under-secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, Kelly Tolhurst responded to the petition saying she “empathised with concerns raised” and said the government “continues to take the enforcement of firework safety seriously”.
Summing this up, she said “Although only a minority of users of fireworks misuse them, I understand that one individual can have a massive impact on a community. That is why the government continue to believe that the best way to continue to reduce any distress caused by fireworks is to work with industry, retailers and others to promote their safe and responsible use through guidance and public education and to ensure that appropriate action is taken against those who break the rules.”
These are views echoed by Steve Raper, vice chairman of the British Fireworks Association. In a statement, he said “Each year, fireworks are enjoyed by around 10 million people in the UK celebrating the long tradition of Guy Fawkes and Diwali Festival of Light.
Sadly, this period of activity brings out the anti-firework campaigners who just seem determined to spoil the fun of the majority for the ideals of a vociferous minority.
The industry is extremely heavily regulated as it is. We are told what we can sell, when and who we can sell it to. It is a perfectly safe and legal product if the instructions printed clearly on every item are followed.
There are laws in place now to prevent irresponsible use and we would like to see the police and Trading Standards use these powers more rigorously. If we can ban the hooligan then there will be no requirement to spoil the enjoyment of millions.”
With this in mind, as a responsible fireworks retailer, here we look at the ways in which you can enjoy a nice and safe firework display which doesn’t become a nuisance for others.
Know the rules
There are laws surrounding fireworks and we are in agreement with Steve Raper that these should be policed more rigorously. The laws in the UK surrounding fireworks are as follows:
You can’t buy ‘adult’ fireworks if you’re under 18, these are category 2 and 3 fireworks and doesn’t include items such as party poppers
It’s against the law for anyone to set off fireworks between 11 pm and 7 am, except on certain occasions
Category 4 fireworks can only be used by professionals
You are not permitted to set off or throw fireworks (including sparklers) in the street or other public places
You can only buy fireworks (including sparklers) from registered sellers for private use on the following dates:
15th October to 10th November
26th to 31st December
3 days before Diwali and Chinese New Year
At other times you can only buy fireworks from licensed shops such as ourselves.
It is against the law for fireworks to be sold at a car boot sale, from a vehicle or from a private house.
When can you use fireworks?
It’s important to know when you can use fireworks, as this varies depending on the time of the year.
You must not set off fireworks between 11 pm and 7 am, except for:
Bonfire Night, when the cut off is midnight
New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, when the cut off is 1 am
The consequences of breaking the law
The punishments for breaking the laws surrounding selling or using fireworks illegally range from on-the-spot fines of £90 up to a maximum fine of £5,000 and imprisoned for up to 6 months
How you can be sensible when using fireworks
By carefully reading and following the supplied instructions
By ensuring you have the correct equipment, this should include:
- Effective ear, eye and body protection for the firers when igniting the fireworks
- A torch
- A waterproof sheet or box to keep rockets covered
- Wooden stakes (2.5cm x 2.5cm x varying lengths) to provide additional stability for roman candles
- 5cm x 5cm x 1m wooden stakes and 5cm x 5cm x 2m-3m wooden posts if using set piece fireworks
- A suitably strong hammer to drive stakes into the ground.
- Strong packing tape and/or string/cable ties
- A spade
Unpack fireworks with great care and well away from any open fire, naked
flame or flammable material. Remember that they are fragile and can easily
be broken. Keep fireworks in a secure box which is kept closed
Allow sufficient distance – garden fireworks (Category 2) require a minimum viewing distance of 8m. Display fireworks (Category 3) require a minimum viewing distance of 25m
By being aware of overhead obstructions such as building, trees and cables. Some fireworks produce fan-shaped displays, this should be taken into consideration when choosing the location to let off your fireworks
Spent firework cases must be gathered. Look for used fireworks with a torch
and use tongs or some other suitable tool, and wear strong gloves
If any fireworks look as if they haven’t gone off after at least half an hour,
soak them in a bucket of water and ask the Fire Service for advice
How you can be more considerate when using fireworks
Notify your neighbours if you plan to be having a fireworks display, this way they won’t have an unpleasant surprise and will be able to make the necessary arrangements for their pets
Consider quiet fireworks, these are exactly what you would imagine; they are fireworks without the big bangs. No longer the boring alternative, these fireworks now offer the same visuals, flashes of colour and bright lights, just without the sound effects
By abiding by the laws surrounding fireworks and not letting these off in public places or after the hours permitted to