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The Current Laws (And Dangers) Of Fireworks

We all know that fireworks can be dangerous, and hospital visits relating to that have doubled in the past decade. But what is the current law on the sale of fireworks? The Personal Injury team at Tilly Bailey & Irvine Solicitors explain…

We will all be familiar with the saying “remember, remember the 5th November”. Here at Tilly Bailey and Irvine Solicitors, unfortunately one of our clients will remember it for the wrong reasons, after sustaining significant facial injuries whilst working at an organised firework display.

The client was employed at an organised firework display to assist putting the fireworks into the ground and then retreating to a 'safe zone' some 50-60 metres away, to patrol the site and ensure that no members of the public entered the zone near to where the fireworks were being let off.

On the night of the event, the ground was wet. Unbeknown, one of the fireworks had slipped from the stand and as the firework had already been ignited, it fired into the path of this individual, exploding in his face. He sustained significant facial injuries.

An unfortunate reminder of the 5th November – the potential dangers of it, that is.

This case identifies just how dangerous fireworks can be even in the most experienced of hands.

In England last year, 4,436 individuals attended hospital because of an injury caused by a firework, which is more than double the amount in 2009/10.

There has been significant interest in the press recently regarding the sale of fireworks for personal use due to the effects the fireworks can have on pets, wildlife and the environment. Sainsbury's was the first of the supermarket chains to ban firework sales in all of their 2,300 stores.

Current law on the sale of fireworks?

It is currently legal for shops to sell fireworks and for you to buy them as long as they abide by a strict set of rules set by the Government.

  • You need to be 18 or older to purchase them.
  • It is illegal to set them off between 11pm and 7am except on certain occasions. The curfew is extended to midnight on Bonfire night and lam on New Year's Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year.
  • You must not set them off in the street.
  • You can only buy fireworks from registered sellers between 15th October and 10th November, 26th December up to 31st December and three days before Diwali and Chinese New Year. You can buy fireworks at other times of the year from licensed shops.

If you break the law, you could face a fine of up to £5,000 and up to six months in prison.

A petition to the government has been backed by more than 300,000 signatures, which means that MPs must consider a ban on the sale of fireworks for personal use. All petitions that receive more than 100,000 signatures have to be considered for debate. The petition states that the noise from fireworks causes fear, stress and anxiety amongst animals and suggests private use should be restricted to 5th November; New Year's Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali.

Although this petition is only restricting the sale of fireworks for personal use, this case clearly illustrates the danger of fireworks as a whole.

If you would like to speak in confidence to a Personal Injury Specialist about how to make a claim for compensation, then please contact 0333 444 4422 to speak with any member of our Personal Injury Team.