Fireworks and the law

Time restrictions

Fireworks can be used at any time between 7am and 11pm except on 5th November (Bonfire Night) which extends this time to midnight and on New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year to 1am the following day.

Who can use Fireworks?

  1. Anyone over 18 can buy, carry or use category one, two and three fireworks
  2. Anyone over 16 can only buy, carry or use category one fireworks
  3. Anyone over 12 can buy Christmas crackers
  4. Only licensed professionals can buy, carry and use category 4 fireworks
  5. Unless part of an organised event by licensed professionals, fireworks cannot be used on the street or in a public place
  6. It’s an offence to throw or set off any firework (including sparklers and category 1 fireworks) in or into any highway, street, thoroughfare or public space.


Section 80 of the Explosives Act 1875, prohibits the throwing or setting off of fireworks in any highway, street, thoroughfare or public place. The power to enforce this section of the Act rests with the police. Anyone found guilty is liable to a fine of up to £5,000. Fixed penalty notices (on-the-spot fines) can also be issued for this offence. In addition the new Fireworks Regulations 2004 make it an offence for anyone under the age of 18 to possess fireworks in a public place. The Police have the power to issue fixed penalty notices to those under the age of 18 caught possessing fireworks in a public place or those breaching the 11 pm curfew time. Again, the offence attracts the upper tier fine of £80.


The Government has introduced a curfew on the use of fireworks during night hours (11 pm to 7 am) and have also imposed a 120 decibel (AI) limit on category 3 fireworks (consumer display fireworks). In certain circumstances excessive noise from fireworks could be deemed a statutory nuisance under Part III of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. This Act provides local authorities with powers to prevent or abate noise nuisance from premises and land. It is for local authority to judge whether a problem complained about may be considered a "statutory nuisance" and to act accordingly. However, it is highly unlikely that a noise would be declared as a statutory nuisance for a single incident or for a short period of time.


The Health and Safety Executive offers guidance to businesses storing and/or selling fireworks, or organising firework displays, to help them undertake these activities safely. Further information can be found using this link. HSE Explosives - Fireworks

Trading Standards

If you would like to sell fireworks you need to contact Nottinghamshire County Council as you may need a licence you are likely to need to licence.

You can obtain further information from their website. Fireworks licences | Nottinghamshire County Council