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Fireworks Act 2003

These regulations came into force on 22 December 2003

Please note some of the following extracts from the Fireworks Act 2003

Regulation 3 prohibits a person under eighteen from possessing all fireworks (with the exception of the firework types listed in Regulation 3(2)(b)) in a public place).

Regulation 3(2)(b) excludes items such as caps, cracker snap, novelty match, party popper, serpent, sparkler or throw downs from the Regulations.

Each of these items is defined in relatively simple terms in Regulation 2.

Regulation 4 also prohibits persons of any age from possessing (in a public place or elsewhere) a category 4 firework.

A category 4 firework is defined in Regulation 2(1) by reference to the categorisation of fireworks under British Standard 7114.

These are the largest most powerful fireworks.

Both these prohibitions (Regulations 3 and 4) are subject to the exceptions in Regulation 5.

The exceptions in Regulation 5 allow a person under eighteen to be in possession of a firework in a public place, or a person of any age to be in possession of a category 4 firework in the following cases:

professional organisers or operators of firework displays, or their employees;

manufacturers (or their employees) of fireworks or assemblies containing fireworks;

suppliers (or their employees) of fireworks or assemblies containing fireworks for the purposes of supplying the fireworks in accordance with the Fireworks (Safety) Regulations 1997;

employees of local authorities, Government departments and naval, military and air force establishments, for the purposes of firework displays or for use at national public celebrations or commemorative events (or in the case of Government departments, for research or investigations purposes);

* persons using fireworks, in the course of their trade, business or employment, for special effects purposes in the theatre, on film or on television;

for the purposes of test purchases by bodies with enforcement powers;

* and suppliers (or their employees) of goods for use with fireworks or assemblies containing fireworks, who are using the fireworks to test those goods to ensure they perform correctly or comply with safety legislation.

By virtue of section 11 of the Fireworks Act 2003, a contravention of either Regulation 3 or Regulation 4 is a criminal offence.



(1) Any person who contravenes a prohibition imposed by fireworks regulations is guilty of an offence.

(2) Any person who fails to comply with a requirement imposed by or under fireworks regulations to give or not to give information is guilty of an offence.

(3) Where a requirement to give information is imposed by or under fireworks regulations, a person is guilty of an offence if, in giving the information, they -

(a) makes a statement which they knows is false in a material particular, or

(b) recklessly makes a statement which is false in a material particular.

(4) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to -

(a) imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or

(b) a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or to both.

Although section 12 of the Fireworks Act 2003 and section 27(1) of the Consumer Protection Act 1987 provide that it is the duty of local weights and measures authorities to enforce these Regulations, this duty is transferred to the relevant police forces (Regulation 6). [SI 2003/3085 The Fireworks Regulations 2003]

The current guidelines in Judges Rules are a minimum of 80 fine plus costs for a first offence.

In addition, from 1st September 2004 Welsh police have a The Penalty Notice for Disorder (PND) scheme whereby an on the spot fine of 80 has to be paid for anti social type offences including drunkenness, wasting police time, and even throwing fireworks, or discharging them after 11 pm.
Crown copyright 2003

For more comprehensive information regarding the Fireworks Act 2003, please visit the DTI website

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