Bonfire night – the law


Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot. I see no reason, why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot…

On 5th November 1605, the very night that the Gunpowder Plot was foiled, bonfires were set alight to celebrate the safety of the King. Since then, November 5th has become known as Bonfire Night. The event is commemorated every year with fireworks and burning effigies of Guy Fawkes on a bonfire.

Every year hundreds of thousands of households host their own celebrations with bonfires, fireworks and excitement but how many know the rules and legal guidelines to follow? So, what are the basics…..

Stick to the schedule – the law says you must not set off or throw fireworks (including sparklers) in the street or other public places. You must not set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except for:

Bonfire Night, when the cut off is midnight

New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, when the cut off is 1am

Leave it to the professionals – category 4 fireworks can only be used by registered specialists

No dodgy deals – you can only buy fireworks (including sparklers) from registered sellers for private use between these dates:

  • 15 October to 10 November
  • 26 to 31 December
  • 3 days before Diwali and Chinese New Year

At other times of the year you must only buy fireworks from licensed shops.

The penalties – you can be fined up to £5,000 and imprisoned for up to 6 months for selling or using fireworks illegally. You could also get an on-the-spot fine of £90

Keep it to yourself – it is illegal to let fireworks off in the street or a public place. You should only set fireworks off on private land such as your garden or on land where you have the landowner’s permission. Public bonfires have to be specially approved and insured

Precious cargo – fireworks are explosives and cannot be sent through the post. This also applies to sparklers. Fireworks can only be shipped using an explosives courier and must be clearly marked as such. So if you spot an online offer that looks too good to be true, it’s because it probably is

If you would like any help or advice please contact us.

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