Firework displays

Regulations apply to anyone selling or letting off fireworks. If you are planning a display check health and safety guidelines first.

Safety guidelines for firework display organisers and operators

Firework safety code

  1. only buy fireworks marked BS 7114.
  2. don't drink alcohol if setting off fireworks.
  3. keep fireworks in a closed box or tin.
  4. follow the instruction on each firework.
  5. light them at arms length using a taper.
  6. stand well back.
  7. never go near a firework that has been lit. Even if it doesn't go off, it could still explode.
  8. never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them.
  9. always supervise children around fireworks.
  10. light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves.
  11. never give sparklers to children under the age of 5.
  12. keep all pets indoors.
  13. don't let noisy fireworks off after 11pm.

Selling fireworks

Selling adult fireworks to anyone under the age of 18 is banned, these include caps, cracker snaps and party poppers.

The public cannot buy:

  • bangers
  • mini rockets
  • fireworks that fly erratically (squibs, helicopters etc)
  • aerial shells
  • maroons
  • mortars
  • large powerful display fireworks

These regulations are enforced by Cumbria County Council consumer protection/trading standards officers.

Suppliers/shopkeepers in breach face a fine of up to £5,000 or six months prison.

You cannot sell fireworks louder than 120 decibels.

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

Cumbria County Council's Trading Standards Department can also help. They can be contacted on 01539 773 000.