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Firework Noise

Fireworks can frighten people and animals. The elderly and children are frequently scared and intimidated by firework noise. After all, fireworks are explosives. For animals, the impact of a noise can be frightening, and panicked pets may become aggressive and destructive. 

Avoid firework frights
  • Tell neighbours - especially the elderly and those with children and pets that you plan to have a firework display - better still, invite your neighbours.
  • When purchasing fireworks, avoid really noisy ones . Your supplier should be able to tell you what they are selling.
  • Make sure pets and other animals are safely away from fireworks.
  • Consider timing. If you have a firework party, hold it on a Friday or Saturday and make sure the noise is over by 11.00 pm. For traditional celebrations like New Year and Bonfire Night, avoid continuing noise into the early hours.
  • Let off your fireworks in an open garden area - noise bounces off buildings and smoke and pollution builds up in enclosed spaces as well.
  • If a neighbour complains that you are disturbing them, their pets or livestock, be considerate. 
After your display, clear up firework fall out and dispose of it safely.
What laws cover nuisance caused by fireworks?
The Fireworks Regulations 2004 place restrictions on the use and sale of fireworks. The regulations are enforced by Police and West Sussex Trading Standards
See section below for times when fireworks can be used. Throwing or setting off of fireworks in a highway or street is an offence. These controls are enforced by the Police.
Other than this, there is no specific law to deal with noise caused by fireworks. The ordinary noise nuisance laws will not usually be applicable to firework noise as:
  • A ’nuisance in law’ must be a continuous state of affairs. A firework event, held once a year for an hour or so, is not ongoing;
  • Fireworks are used to celebrate a significant cultural or religious ceremony, this would be the view taken by any court in relation to fireworks used during this period;
  • It would be difficult to show that any one event or person is solely causing the noise problem when there may be scores of similar events in the locality;
  • Firework events do not usually last long enough to allow officers to reach them before they are finished
It may be possible to use Nuisance law if particular premises hold regular firework displays.
When can I use fireworks?
The Fireworks Regulations 2004 prohibit anyone under 18 from possessing fireworks, and anyone except professionals from possessing display fireworks in a public place. These regulations also prohibit the use of fireworks at night (11pm - 7am) in England and Wales, with extensions to the curfew for the following festivals:
  • Until Midnight on 5 November
  • Until 01:00 on the night of New Years Eve
  • Until 01:00 on the night of the Chinese New Year 
  • Until 01:00 on the night of Diwali


These regulations are enforced by the Police. There is a penalty of up to £5,000 or 6 months in prison for breach of curfew. The supply, purchase or possession of excessively loud fireworks over 120 decibels are also prohibited (enforced by West Sussex Trading Standards), although these fireworks can be still be used by professionals.
Sale of Fireworks - Enforced by West Sussex Trading Standards
  • The sale of fireworks to under 18’s is banned.
  • All fireworks for use by the public must meet British Standards BS 7114.
  • Most sales are only permitted at certain times of year and from registered premises
  • Traders need to be licensed to supply fireworks year round.
  •  Individuals can store fireworks for private use for up to 14 days, provided they are kept in a safe place. 

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