Fireworks are widely used to mark public and private celebrations, as well as traditional events. Whilst adding excitement to occasions, fireworks can frighten people and animals and can cause annoyance. Fireworks can be very frightening, especially for children and the elderly who can be intimidated by firework noise. Disturbing animals and domestic pets can be dangerous as panicked pets can become vicious and destructive and startled animals can be injured, killed or cause accidents when bolting across roads.
The Fireworks Regulations 2004 prohibit the use of fireworks at night between 11pm and 7am in England and Wales, with extensions for the following festivals:
- Chinese New year until 1am
- Diwali until 1am
- New Years Eve until 1am
- Bonfire Night until midnight on 5 November
Responsibility for enforcement of the restrictions in these regulations rests with the police. These regulations also control the sale of fireworks and prohibit retailers selling fireworks that are louder than 120 decibels. Although Slough Borough Council has powers to deal with noise nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Noise Act 1996 it is not possible to take action under this legislation to deal with noise from fireworks.
Firework noise is usually short in duration from any individual property, it usually only occurs on one night and it can be difficult locating the source. This makes it virtually impossible for the council to witness the noise to determine whether it is likely to cause a nuisance. Throughout the UK there are hundreds of organised firework displays during times of celebration and it is advisable to visit such events rather than have firework displays at home.
If you have your own firework display follow the Firework Code and also follow these simple guidelines to reduce the risk of causing a nuisance:
- give neighbours a few days notice of your display - particularly if they are elderly, have children or pets.
- use appropriate fireworks - when buying fireworks try to avoid really noisy ones.
- make sure pets and other animals are safely away from fireworks.
- consider timing - if you are using fireworks for a celebration, a Friday or Saturday is preferable.
- if a neighbour complains that you are disturbing them or their pets, be considerate.
If you have any questions or comments please contact Slough Borough Council’s Customer Services Team on 01753 475111.