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Fireworks are often used at celebrations and especially on or around 5 November. They can add great excitement to celebrations and are enjoyed by many but they can also frighten animals and cause annoyance to other residents, as well as having a damaging impact on air quality.

Like all explosives, fireworks must be treated with caution as they can cause great harm or injury if used incorrectly.

When can fireworks be used?

The Fireworks Regulations 2004 prohibit the use of fireworks in England and Wales between the hours of 11pm and 7am, although extensions are given for the following special events:

  • Until 1am on the night of the Chinese New Year (February)
  • Until 1am on the night of Diwali (November)
  • Until 1am on New Year's Eve
  • Until midnight on 5 November

These regulations are enforced by the police and a penalty of up to £5,000 or 6 months in prison can be issued for a breach.

Sale of fireworks

The sale of fireworks to anyone under the age of 18 is illegal. Suppliers or shopkeepers can face a fine of up to £5,000 or six months in prison.

Trading Standards officers enforce the law regarding the illegal sale of fireworks. Offences include selling fireworks without an appropriate licence, selling outside the normal selling period, selling fireworks to underage people or the sale of illegally imported fireworks.

For further information, call Bucks County Council Trading Standards on 01296 383212.

Who is responsible for taking action against the misuse of fireworks?

A number of agencies have responsibility for protecting the community from the misuse of fireworks, including the police and the district council.

The Police

Police Officers can stop and search anyone they suspect of being in possession of prohibited fireworks.

Police officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) can issue £80 Penalty Notice for Disorder (PNDs) for anyone throwing fireworks.

The police can prosecute individuals for:

  • throwing fireworks or setting off fireworks in public places
  • possession of ‘adult fireworks’ by anyone under the age of 18 in a public place
  • possession of category 4 fireworks (public display fireworks) by anyone other than a fireworks professional
  • use of fireworks during curfew times

However, on the busiest nights, ie 5 November, the police response will depend on available resources.

For further information, call Thames Valley Police on 08458 505 505.


We have enforcement powers if the noise from a firework display causes a statutory nuisance.  It is unlikely that a single event would be a nuisance, especially if it is taking place during the permitted hours. Our powers cover both domestic properties and public displays but we are unable to take action against individuals letting off fireworks in the street.

Date Updated: 10/02/14

Contact information


01296 585615