Fireworks are great and everyone should be able to enjoy them safely, whether at an organised display or in their back garden. Here you’ll find out the law around using fireworks as well as how to stay safe, and report those using fireworks in a dangerous or threatening way. 

Fireworks and the law

Categories of fireworks

  • Category one: ‘Throwdown fireworks’ including firecrackers, bangers and party poppers
  • Categories two and three: ‘Adult fireworks’ available in shops
  • Category four: Professional display fireworks available from specialist suppliers

Who can use fireworks?

According to The Fireworks Regulations 2004 and The Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2015:

  • Anyone over 18 can buy, carry or use category one, two and three fireworks
  • Anyone over 16 can only buy, carry or use category one fireworks
  • Anyone over 12 can buy Christmas crackers
  • Only licensed professionals can buy, carry and use category 4 fireworks
  • Unless part of an organised event by licensed professionals, fireworks cannot be used on the street or in a public place
  • It’s an offence to throw or set off any firework (including sparklers and category 1 fireworks) in or into any highway, street, thoroughfare or public space

What time can fireworks be used?

Fireworks can be used in the UK any time from 7am to 11pm.

Exceptions are:

  • Bonfire night: 7am to midnight
  • New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year: 7am to 1am the following day

What is the impact of firework misuse?

Used irresponsibly, fireworks can cause damage to property and do significant harm to people and animals. Not only is there a danger from fireworks exploding, they can also pose a serious fire risk as well.

This is why members of the public may only use fireworks on private property, such as their back gardens, and only licensed professionals can use them in public places.

What you can do

If a local retailer is selling adult fireworks to people under 18, please report it to your local Trading Standards.

If children are setting off fireworks in your area, our first advice is to ask them politely to stop. It’s possible they’re unaware that they are breaking the law. If you know their parents, perhaps ask them to intervene. 

If you’re having an ongoing problem with people setting off fireworks, please report it to us.