Bonfire Night is just a few days away – but there are rules you’ll need to be aware of if you’re planning a firework display from home.
Brits risk an “unlimited” fine and six months in prison, as well as an on-the-spot penalty of £90, if they use fireworks illegally.
Several councils including in Brent and Sheffield says local residents can be fined £5,000.
It’s against the law for anyone to set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am in England and Wales, apart from on certain occasions.
The exception is on Bonfire Night (November 5) when the cut off is midnight, or on New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, when you have until 1am.
This is according to the Fireworks Regulations 2004 which sets rules on when fireworks can be set off.
There are restrictions for when shops can legally sell fireworks as well.
You can only buy fireworks from registered sellers for private use on these dates:
15 October to 10 November
26 to 31 December
Three days before Diwali and Chinese New Year
At other times, you can only buy fireworks from licensed shops.
It is illegal to supply “adult” fireworks and sparklers to anyone under the age of 18.
For party poppers, you have to be aged 16 or older to purchase them.
On the Gov.uk website, it states: “You can be fined an unlimited amount and imprisoned for up to six months for selling or using fireworks illegally.
“You could also get an on-the-spot fine of £90.”
Gov.uk also advises you to check with your council to find out about any local rules for setting off fireworks.
Fireworks are assigned different categories depending on their intended purpose, ranging from category F1 to F4.
F1 is the category used for indoor fireworks including sparklers and party poppers.
These are the only fireworks where it is legal to possess them in a public place.
Fireworks in the F2 and F3 categories are intended for garden and display use respectively.
F4 fireworks are professional fireworks that can only be used by specialist companies.
How to be safe this Bonfire Night
Fireworks can be dangerous in confined spaces such as a small garden.
If you can’t put a considerable distance between your guests and the fireworks or bonfire, then you should probably reconsider your plans.
You should also consider whether you can safely let the fireworks off.
For example, if you only have a concrete outdoor space, the chances are you won’t be able to securely fix the fitting that holds fireworks when they go off.
This means they could be at risk of toppling over after being ignited.
Lettings agent Barrows and Forrester has provided the following tips to also help you avoid unwanted arguments.
You should let you neighbours know if you’re setting off fireworks so they can be prepared, as loud displays can be stressful for animals and vulnerable people.
Finally, if you’re renting, you should also check your tenancy agreement to see if there are any clauses which restrict you from hosting firework and bonfire displays.
Even if such a clause doesn’t, tenants are still strongly advised to speak to their landlord beforehand in order to avoid any potential conflict.
James Forrester, m anaging director of Barrows and Forrester, said: “Tenants should be very careful when deciding whether or not to host a bonfire night party, or even when letting some fireworks off for the kids.
“A causal approach can soon turn into a nightmare if proper care isn’t given.
“We would strongly advise that tenants go to great lengths to gain permission from the landlord and the neighbours beforehand. “