While many people enjoy the use of fireworks on special occasions, I appreciate that others do not like them. Fireworks can, of course, be dangerous and so it is right that the use and sale of them is controlled.
Firework regulations allow fireworks for home use to be sold during the traditional firework periods of Bonfire Night, New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali. Suppliers who wish to sell fireworks outside the traditional periods must comply with stringent conditions before being granted a licence by their local licensing authority. This means the availability and use of fireworks outside the traditional periods has been greatly reduced.
Although there is some use of fireworks outside the traditional periods, the majority of people who use fireworks do so at the appropriate times of year and have a sensible and responsible attitude towards them.
While there are no plans at the moment to place further limitations on the use of fireworks, the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) engaged with a wide range of views and developed an evidence base on the key issues that have been raised around fireworks including noise, as well as anti-social behaviour, non-compliance, environmental impact, and the impact on humans and animals.
Following the review by the OPSS, I understand that the Government remains committed to promoting the safe and considerate use of fireworks through the effective legislative framework and through non-legislative measures. Any further restrictions on fireworks sold to the public by retail outlets could possibly lead to more individuals buying products inappropriately, through online social media sources or from outside the UK which could drive individuals to source fireworks from illegitimate or unsafe suppliers, where products may not meet the UK’s safety requirements.
The Government has previously run public awareness campaigns and worked with a variety of stakeholders, including animal welfare groups, to promote the safe and considerate use of fireworks to the general public, to ensure that those using them do so safely and considerately.