Laws relating to disturbance caused by fireworks
The Fireworks Regulations 2004 prohibit the supply of fireworks louder than 120 decibels. The regulations concerning the sale of fireworks are enforced by the Trading Standards Officers of Surrey County Council.
Throwing, or setting off fireworks in the street or other public place is an offence under the Explosives Act 1875 which is enforced by the police. There is a potential fine of up to £5000.
Noise from fireworks is usually transitory and happens vary rarely. It is unlikely to amount to a statutory nuisance within the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. If you are experiencing significant regular noise disturbance from fireworks please report it to us on our noise complaint form.
When can you use fireworks?
The Fireworks Regulations 2004 prohibit anyone under 18 from possessing fireworks, and anyone except professionals from setting up a fireworks display.
These regulations also prohibit the use of fireworks at night (11pm to 7am) in England and Wales, except for the following times.
- Until 1am following the first day of Chinese New Year.
- Until midnight on November 5
- Until 1am on the day following Diwali day.
- Until 1am on the day following December 31.
These regulations are enforced by the police. There is a penalty of up to £5000 or 6 months in prison for breach of the regulations.
If you are aware of fireworks going off after 11pm (except on the dates listed above) please contact the police on 101.
It is a criminal offence to display fireworks for sale or sell fireworks outside of the following dates:
- 5 November (three weeks before and five days after)
- New Year's Eve (26 December to 1 January)
- Chinese New Year (four days before and the actual date)
- Diwali (four days before and the actual date)
A special licence is required to sell fireworks outside of these periods. To apply for a licence, which will cost £500, please contact Surrey Trading Standards on 01372 371700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Top tips to stay safe on Guy Fawkes Night
- Light sparklers one at a time and always remember to wear gloves.
- Only ever buy and use fireworks that are in a well contained box and marked BS 7114.
- Do not drink alcohol if you are setting off fireworks or attending a bonfire.
- Always read and follow instructions carefully on each firework before you light them.
- Light fireworks at arms-length, using a taper and stand well back.
- Never go back to a lit firework.
- Never put fireworks in your pocket.
- Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire.
- Keep naked flames away from fireworks.
Consider your neighbours
Fireworks can frighten people and animals. In particular children and the elderly can be intimidated and scared by firework noise. Let your neighbours know in advance if you intend to set off fireworks from your garden.
Keep pets safe
Make sure you keep your pets safe on bonfire night and at other times when fireworks are likely to be set off in your neighbourhood.
Fireworks can be terrifying to animals. As responsible owners we should do what we can to ensure their comfort and wellbeing.
Here is some useful advice to consider:
- Take dogs for a good walk during daylight hours so they can stay inside in the evening when people are likely to let off fireworks. If fireworks are let off whilst you are out with your pooch he may take off in fright and run into a road.
- Keep your TV or radio on a bit higher than normal to block out some of the sound.
- Shut the curtains to block the lights.
- Create a doggy fort for your pal! Make a nice comfy space for your dog to escape into where he will feel safe and secure and don't try to pull him out whilst the fireworks are going on.
- Consider using a plug in diffuser for cats and dogs to help them stay relaxed. You can also get drops to put on the back of the neck with the same effect available in most pet shops. Thunder Shirts are also available for dogs that are particularly scared of loud bangs.
- Keep cats inside and lock cat flaps in the evenings.
- Bring in your pets from the garden such as rabbits and guinea pigs as they may be susceptible to heart attacks from the noise and lights.
Health and Safety
Health and Safety guidance on fireworks can be obtained from the Health and Safety Executive website.
You can also find more information on GOV.UK.