Bonfire Night Derbyshire 2021: What times you're allowed to set off fireworks and law on where you can use them

Some people in Derbyshire may be considering holding their own fireworks display this Bonfire Night – but what are the laws on using fireworks at home?

Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 10:34 am

This year there are plenty of Bonfire Night events taking place in and around Derbyshire.

However, after last year’s large bonfire events were all cancelled in light of the Covid pandemic, it is no surprise that some people are choosing to stay at home on November 5 this year to enjoy the festivities from the comfort of their own garden.

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It is illegal to set off fireworks after midnight on Bonfire Night in Sheffield and 11pm on most other nights (pic: AFP via Getty Images)

There are strict rules on setting off fireworks which anyone planning on doing so must follow – and if you don’t, you could face a hefty fine.

Here is everything you need to know about setting off fireworks and having a bonfire at home.

Who can buy and use fireworks?

Fireworks are available at multiple shops and venues across Derbyshire but you can only buy them (including sparklers) from registered sellers for private use on these dates:

- 15 October to 10 November

- 26 to 31 December

- 3 days before Diwali and Chinese New Year

At other times you can only buy fireworks from licensed shops.

Most retailers such as supermarkets and newsagents have a short-term license which enables them to sell fireworks only at these certain times of the year.

If you want to set off fireworks for a private event such as a party or wedding, you can buy them from a registered seller with an all-year or long-term license.

No one aged under 18 is allowed to buy ‘adult’ fireworks.

Category 1, 2 and 3 fireworks are all on sale to the general public and you must follow the instructions on the box when using them – but category 4 fireworks must not be used under any circumstances.

All fireworks must be stored in flame resistant containers and should be bought from reputable suppliers to ensure they adhere to safety standards.

Where can I use fireworks?

It is forbidden to set off or throw fireworks, including sparklers, in the street or other public places.

Information about firework safety is available from The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and the Health and Safety Executive.

The RSPCA warns that many animals find fireworks distressing. It wants their use to be restricted to traditional dates like Bonfire Night and for a noise-limit to be imposed on fireworks for private use. The charity has published advice on how to keep your pets safe during fireworks.

Anyone caught selling or using fireworks illegally can be fined up to £5,000 and imprisoned for six months. You could also get an on-the-spot fine of £90.

What time can I set off fireworks until on Bonfire Night?

In general you must not set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except for on Bonfire Night, when the deadline is midnight, and on New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, when the cut off is 1am.

What should I do if someone is setting fireworks off in my street late at night?

It is considered a criminal offence to set off fireworks in the street or other public places without permission, and you can contact the police if someone is doing this.

You can also contact the police if someone is letting fireworks off outside of the permitted hours.

To set off fireworks in a public place or in the street, such as for a special event, you must gain permission from the local authority.

Where can I legally set off fireworks?

It is legal to set off fireworks on your own property, providing you are over 18 and are using fireworks purchased from a licensed supplier.

If you are setting them off in public you must have permission.

If you are renting your property – either privately or from the council – it is worth checking with your landlord or agency whether you are allowed to set off fireworks at home.

When setting off fireworks you have a duty of care to your neighbours and anyone in attendance.

What happens if I break the law?

Under the Firework Act of 2003, if you break the law around firework use you can receive a prison sentence of up to six months or a fine up to £5,000.

Breaching of the act constitutes a criminal offence however, if you cause any damage to property or injury to someone, you may be liable for a civil offence and could be sued for negligence.