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What are the Firework Laws in the UK?

Whether it’s New Year, Bonfire Night, Diwali, or your child’s fifth birthday, you can’t call it a proper celebration if you don’t have fireworks, right? 

The human brain is mesmerized by these colourful light explosions, and we love to watch them and set them on fire (mostly as a way to brag in front of our friends and showcase just how cool we are). However, fireworks, poppers, sparkles, and other similar devices are not always safe to use. 

In order to keep everyone safe, there are strict laws that regulate who can buy fireworks, which type of devices can be sold, and where and when fireworks can be used. So, before you stock up on low explosive pyrotechnic devices (aka fireworks) for your next garden party, make sure you are allowed to use them. 

We took a look at the laws in the UK and we’ll dissect some of the most important rules and regulations to consider when buying and using fireworks.

Types of Fireworks

Before you set out to buy your party supplies, it’s important to take a look at the type of fireworks you can find in stores or online. Here is a quick categorization:

  • Category F1 – also known as ‘throwdown fireworks’ include firecrackers, bangers and party poppers;
  • Categories F2 and F3: also known as ‘adult fireworks’ are only available in specialized shops and can’t be bought by anyone;
  • Category F4: these are professional display fireworks and can only be bought from specialist suppliers. Also, the buyer must have a license that allows them to work with such powerful fireworks.

Who Can Buy Fireworks in the UK?

In the UK, you can buy the so-called adult fireworks (F2 and F3 category) only if you are over 18. Category F1 fireworks, which can be used indoors and are considered low-hazard and low-noise (such as party poppers) can be bought by persons 16 and older.

Furthermore, you can buy fireworks (of any category) from licensed shops. Luckily, if you’re in Manchester UK or the North West of England, you can buy fireworks online from a reputable supplier whose offer is so diverse anyone can find something fun.

Where to Use Fireworks?

Regardless of the occasion, keep in mind that it’s against the law for anyone to set off fireworks between 11 pm and 7 am. Exceptions from this rule are a few public celebrations such as Bonfire Night (the cut off is midnight), New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year (the cut off is 1 am).

Now, not everyone can use fireworks in a public space. According to the law, you must not set off or throw fireworks (including sparklers) in the street or other public places. You can use category F2 fireworks outdoors but only in confined areas, while category F3 can only be used in large open areas, specially approved for this type of activity. 

Category F1 fireworks, on the other hand, present a very low hazard and have a negligible noise level so they can be used inside domestic buildings (for parties and other celebrations).

In Conclusion

Fireworks for personal use (F1, F2, and F3) are not forbidden to use in the UK, as long as you follow the rules and mind your surroundings. However, if you want to see a real show, you will have to wait for a special event like Swansea’s spectacular annual fireworks show

Powerful fireworks are illegal to use by regular individuals and require special training to learn how to set them up to avoid injuring yourself and the people around. When done right, they can create a beautiful and mesmerizing atmosphere.