As a traditional celebration, firework and bonfire displays are entertaining occasions and are enjoyed by many. Although it is unlikely that any displays would constitute a Statutory Nuisance, they should however be undertaken responsibly and with consideration to others. Further controls are provided by the Firework Regulations 2004.
Firework displays should be enjoyable occasions. If organisers take the necessary precautions, they should also be safe occasions. It is recommended where possible that people attend professional organised displays.
Planning your own fireworks display
If you are planning your own display please talk to your neighbours about your plans as a matter of courtesy. This will also ensure pets can be safe and locked away from stress or harm.
Fireworks should be purchased from a reputable supplier and should be the right category for use in domestic gardens. Trading Standards hold a list of reputable suppliers.
Staffordshire County Council run a Firework Hotline – 0845 4020334. The Hotline gives information and advice, for example;
- if you are aware of fireworks being sold at car boot sales
- if fireworks are being set off in the street
- late night displays
- nuisance fireworks
- if fireworks are being offered for sale outside the given dates of 15th October and 10th November
When can I set off fireworks?
Apart from traditional celebrations (see the list below), a curfew exists where fireworks cannot be set off between the hours of 11.00pm to 07.00am (period beginning at 11 pm and ending at 7 am the following day). Any fireworks set off during this time can be reported to the police who enforce this.
However, there are exceptions as follow on a “permitted fireworks night”;
- beginning at 11 pm on the first day of the Chinese New Year and ending at 1 am the following day
- beginning at 11 pm on 5th November and ending at 12 am the following day
- beginning at 11 pm on the day of Diwali and ending at 1 am the following day
- beginning at 11 pm on 31st December and ending at 1 am the following day.
Unless licensed by the council, retailers can only sell fireworks;
- on the first day of the Chinese New Year and the three days immediately preceding
- on the day of Diwali and the three days immediately preceding
- during the period beginning on the 15th October and ending on the 10th November
- during the period beginning on the 26th December and ending on the 31st December.
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service have seen an increase in 999 emergency calls made by members of the public reporting controlled burning/bonfires. While 999 calls are always responded to, clearly in the case of bonfires (unless they are out of control), it becomes a waste of service resources, and in particular prevents them from attending other emergency incidents where they might be required.
Organisations that are licensed by the council
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 places responsibilities on organisers of public displays to ensure the safety both of employees and members of the public.
- Plan well ahead - ensure the site is suitable; consider desirability of a co-ordinating team (to share the tasks that might need to be carried out) with one person in overall control.
- Use only appropriate fireworks (It is recommended that only Category 1 - 3 fireworks are used).
- Obtain fireworks from a reputable supplier.
- Ensure that the display site and organisations meet recommended safety criteria. i.e..
- Suitable site access; size; absence of associated hazards; layout of spectator/safety/firing/fall-out and bonfire areas/
There should be sufficient people with allocated duties such as organising/supervising the bonfire, marshalling the public and delivering first aid. Staff letting off fireworks should be kept to a minimum, instructed regarding all types of fireworks, attend a practice session and be provided with protective clothing.
Safe location and distance; safe construction and size; no dangerous contents; built at the last minute; be supervised until extinguished.
Used fireworks to be kept in their packaging and stored in a secure, cool, dry place away from sources of ignition or highly flammable substances.
Collect empty firework cases (using gloves and tongs); 'duds' to be left for 30 minutes and then placed in a container of water. Damping down of bonfires should also be carried out.
It must be stressed however that if an emergency situation exists the normal 999 service should be called.