Firework Lovers – Will Your Private Display Be Breaking The Law?

It’s Bonfire Night in a few days and I’m sure many people are planning small get-togethers with family and friends for a few fireworks, but did you know that as an organiser of these events you will be subject to the 2004 Fireworks Regulations?

Hands holding a sparkler firework in the dark
The days of just a humble sparkler in the back garden are long gone

Event insurers are warning private firework party organisers about the legal responsibilities and risks that garden displays entail ahead of Bonfire Night – and there could be stiff penalties handed out to amateur pyrotechnicians who breach these regulations.

ARAG’s checklist for anyone planning garden displays this weekend is:

• Keep it at home – It has been illegal to set off fireworks “in or into any highway, street, thoroughfare or public place” since the Explosives Act of 1875

• Adults only – Possession of category 2 (garden) and category 3 (display) fireworks in a public place by anyone under the age of 18 is also an offence

• No pro, no show – Only pyrotechnics professionals are legally allowed to buy or possess category 4 (public display) fireworks

• Observe the curfew – Private firework displays must normally end by 11 pm but the curfew is extended to midnight on November 5

You can find more safety tips for bonfire night, including a downloadable guide at

The penalty for breaching the regulations is a fine of up to £5,000 or up to 6 months in prison. Such offences can also be dealt with through on-the-spot fines of £90.

Anyone hosting a private firework display or who is setting off fireworks could also face civil action if a guest is injured by a firework or the bonfire.

And of course there’s the potential distress to our pets.

This is, of course, all well and good but I hope that these regulations are enforced.

Well done to Sainsburys who will not be selling fireworks this year but I think it’s time for the other supermarkets and other major retailers to review their policy on selling fireworks direct to the general public.

Having listened to fireworks being let off in the streets around me in the middle of the night for days now, I suspect there are quite a few who would agree with me.


  1. Alex Telford
    1 November, 2019 / 10:01 am

    I love bonfire night, but always stick to an organised event. There are several reasons, safety being a key one, but also, for your few pounds entrance fee you can see some spectacular fireworks, yet would pay 4 times or 5 times the amount for just a few in the back garden. I’m pleased to see sainsburys are not selling them this year, but sadly or local town doesn’t have an organised event this year so I imagine there will be far more back garden displays this year.

  2. Kasper
    31 October, 2019 / 7:00 pm

    I’m personally glad I can buy fireworks from a store, however I’m damn sick of people setting them off since mid-october at all hours!

  3. Nadia Josephine
    31 October, 2019 / 4:24 pm

    I love fireworks night! But my cats hate it they are terrified. I hope one day there will be a way to enjoy it without the poor pets feeling afraid!

  4. Barbara Finemore
    10 January, 2019 / 8:09 am

    Hi Linda
    Shoes….. Oh how my feet hate them. I now buy Vionic shoes/sandals as they have a raised arch which straightens my knees and stops the pain in my hips. I buy them from QVC, usually when they are a TSV.
    Arnica gel, also QVC by SBC, for a better strength.
    Exercise in moderation helps me.
    Luv B xx

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