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Your Borough Of Poole



Fireworks can frighten people and animals. The elderly and children are frequently scared and intimidated by firework noise. For animals, the impact of a noise can be serious as panicked pets may be vicious and destructive.

It is very unlikely that we would be able to take action for individual displays, unless the noise occurs for a lengthy duration on different occasions. 

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Air Pollution

The bright colours and effects in fireworks are produced by a cocktail of chemicals. When fireworks go off they emit light, heat and sound energy, along with carbon dioxide and other gases and residues. The main component of fireworks is gunpowder and sulphur compounds are emitted. On and around bonfire night there is a noticeable increase in pollution, particularly in levels of particulates and dioxins from bonfires and fireworks. 

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Fireworks are explosives and must be used with caution. 

 For information on firework safety contact the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), who co-ordinate national fireworks safety campaigns. 

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Advice for users:

Storage of fireworks/explosives by private households

Private storage of fireworks/explosives is a police matter. You can currently keep an unlimited amount of fireworks for private use only in a safe and suitable place. However, if kept for 14 days or more, the maximum amount you can store is 5kg.

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Do's and Don'ts for Firework Safety


  • Return to a firework once it is lit as it may go off in your face
  • Put fireworks in your pocket
  • Play with fireworks
  • Throw fireworks
  • Give sparklers to very young children


  • Keep fireworks in a closed box
  • Read and follow all instructions carefully, using a torch or hand lamp. Never use a naked flame
  • Use them one at a time, replacing the lid of the box at all times
  • Light firework fuse at arms length and stand well back, using a taper or a firework lighter
  • Ensure all children with fireworks, e.g. sparklers are well supervised
  • Take care of sparkers, wear gloves to hold them and dispose of sparklers in a bucket of water as soon as they are finished
  • Keep pets indoors

Despite annual safety warnings, Bonfire Night week still ends in disaster for far too many families. Fireworks can provide fun and entertainment, but only if everyone follows the right safety procedures and remembers that fireworks can be very dangerous if misused. 

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If you are having a firework display or party:

  • Tell neighbours especially the elderly and those with children and pets that you plan to have a firework display
  • Consider the timing of the event and limit noise after 11:00 pm
  • Make sure you let off fireworks in an open space as noise bounces off buildings and smoke and pollution builds up in enclosed spaces as well
  • If a neighbour complains that you are disturbing them or their pets, be considerate
  • Make sure you clear up any firework fall out after the display and dispose of it safely.  

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Time restrictions on the use of fireworks

A curfew on the use of noisy 'adult' fireworks is enforced by the police.

Members of the public can only use such fireworks between 7 am and 11 pm apart from:

  • 5 November when they can be used until midnight
  • New Years Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali when they can be used until 1 am.  

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Bonfires as part of a domestic display

Remember to be careful with bonfires too. It’s much better to manage without one. If you insist:

  • Make sure it is well away from your house, and any trees, hedges, fences or sheds.
  • Never use a flammable liquid like petrol, or paraffin, to get one going.
  • If lighting your bonfire is difficult, only use domestic firelighters to help.
  • Check very carefully that there’s no animal (or even a young child) hidden inside the bonfire.
  • Loose clothing (like shell-suits, and scarves) can very easily catch alight, and should never be worn near any fire.  

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Guidance for businesses:

Registration of stores

Those storing and selling explosives, including fireworks, can receive a copy of our guidance leaflet called 'Safe Storage and Sale of Fireworks and Mixed Explosives', please email us. For more information please read our page on explosives licences and you can also apply for an explosives licence.

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What is the law on the Supply of Fireworks?

Under the Fireworks (Safety) Regulations 1997 all fireworks for use by the public must meet BS 7114.

Fireworks cannot be bought by anyone under 18 and caps, cracker snaps and party poppers cannot be sold to anyone under 16.

The supply of bangers, mini rockets, fireworks that fly erratically, aerial shells, maroons, mortars and some large powerful display fireworks are banned from supply to the public. Suppliers who breach these regulations face a fine and/or imprisonment. 

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Supply to under 18s

If you have information that shops in Poole are selling fireworks to under 18s please report it to us by using the contact details above. It is also illegal for shops to provide party poppers, caps, cracker snaps and throw-downs to under 16s. Please report such instances to us as above. 

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What laws cover nuisance and danger caused by fireworks?

  • It is an offence under Explosives Act 1875 to throw or set off fireworks in the street
  • It is an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to animals under the Protection of Animals Act 1911
  • If the local authority officer judges noise from fireworks to be a statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, they can issue an abatement notice. However the officer would need to witness the noise and due to its short term nature this may prove difficult.

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For further safety information contact:


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Guidance for professional organisers of displays

Professionally organised displays are regulated by the Health & Safety Executive who publish two booklets - 'Giving Your Own Firework Display' and 'Working Together', aimed at organisers of events where a professional firework display company controls the display, available from HSE books.

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Other useful links

Fire Service UK - Bonfire and Firework Safety

National Campaign for Firework Safety

UK Firework Safety Pages

Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA)

Remember that pets are frightened of fireworks - always keep them indoors. You can download a leaflet about keeping your pets safe during firework season from the Blue Cross 

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