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What does the law say about setting off fireworks at Christmas and New Year?

18th December 2017

fireworks at New Year

Christmas and New Year’s is nearly upon us and many of us would like to celebrate these joyous occasions by setting off a firework or two, but what does the law actually say about doing so?

Of course, it’s very common to set off some fireworks on Bonfire Night and Chinese New Year but we increasingly like to enjoy the activity at other times of the year like Christmas and indeed New Year’s Eve. However, to avoid landing yourself in some hot water, and creating a few new jobs for lawyers, its best you know exactly what is permitted and when.

Because fireworks are incredibly noisy and disruptive by nature, worrying pets and awakening children, for example, there are certain rules and guidelines in place, all of which are designed for everyone to enjoy fireworks and holidays responsibly.

Regarding the rules themselves, people are indeed allowed to set off fireworks at Christmas time – however, Nottinghamshire Police (as reported by the Derby Telegraph) say that fireworks cannot be set off between 11pm and 7am.

New Year Extension

On New Year’s Eve, however, there is an extension of the period when fireworks are permitted, with the curfew then being between 1am and 7am. Nottinghamshire Police also advise that people call 101 if someone is setting off fireworks outside of these curfew hours.

Regarding the penalties for using fireworks outside of these times, they can be quite severe. The Derby Telegraph has quoted a statement from Leicestershire Police:

"The penalties for using fireworks outside the above curfew hours are imprisonment (maximum six months) and a substantial fine.

"Please note, you could also commit offences if they were being used to cause a nuisance."

Aside from the above stated laws, it is also illegal to use fireworks in a public space or when within 50 feet of a road, and, of course, under 18s cannot carry or buy fireworks.