Firework displays

Last Updated: 4 April 2023

We advise on, and enforce, health and safety issues regarding firework displays and selling fireworks.

You can find out about:

Organising firework displays

If you are organising a public event you will need a robust and detailed approach to planning.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) give advice on organising firework displays

Storing and selling fireworks

Regulations apply to anyone selling or letting off fireworks.

HSE offer advice, a risk assessment checklist and outline the legal requirements on storing and selling fireworks safely

Westmorland and Furness Council's Trading Standards Department issue licences to sell fireworks. Trading Standards Explosives registration.

Firework safety code

  • only buy fireworks that carry a CE mark
  • don't drink alcohol if setting off fireworks
  • keep fireworks in a closed box or tin
  • follow the instruction on each firework
  • light them at arms length using a taper
  • stand well back
  • never go near a firework that has been lit. Even if it doesn't go off, it could still explode
  • never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them
  • always supervise children around fireworks
  • light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves
  • never give sparklers to children under the age of 5
  • keep all pets indoors
  • don't let noisy fireworks off after 11pm

Letting off fireworks

Fireworks cannot be let off between 11pm and 7am in England and Wales. There are extensions for the following festivities:

  • until 1am on the night of the Chinese New Year
  • until 1am on the night of Diwali
  • until 1am on New Year's Eve
  • until midnight on November 5

These regulations are enforced by the police and there is a penalty of up to £5,000 or six months in prison for breach of curfew.

An abatement notice can be issued if noise from fireworks is causing a nuisance.  

Tips to help avoid firework frights are:

  • give neighbours a few days notice of your display, in particular elderly people and those with animals
  • use appropriate fireworks and try to avoid really noisy ones
  • make sure pets and other animals are safely away from fireworks
  • consider timing. Usually Friday or Saturday is preferable
  • avoid letting fireworks off in unsuitable weather, such as strong winds could be hazardous
  • let off your fireworks in an open garden area, noise 'bounces' off buildings and smoke pollution can build up
  • if a neighbour complains that you are disturbing their livestock or pets please be considerate
  • after your display, clear up firework 'fallout' and dispose of safely