It is possible that noise disturbance caused by fireworks could cause a statutory nuisance within the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 - but this is extremely unlikely as noise from fireworks is usually transitory.

We will need to know exactly where the activity is taking place and when it may be witnessed by our officers. Any other information would be helpful.

Laws that cover noise disturbance caused by fireworks

The Fireworks Regulations 2004 prohibit the supply of fireworks louder than 120 decibels. The regulations concerning the sale of fireworks are enforced by the trading standards officers of Devon County Council.

Throwing or setting off fireworks in the street or other public place is an offence under the Explosives Act 1875. This is enforced by the police, with a fine of up to £5,000.

If noise from fireworks causes a statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, we can serve a abatement notice. However, as stated above, this is very unlikely.

It is possible, although still unlikely, that noise from fireworks could constitute a common law nuisance. For a matter to be a common law nuisance it must cause a substantial and unreasonable effect upon the use or enjoyment of your property. Common law nuisances are usually matters that persist for some time and action taken when that is expected to continue to be so. Also, common law nuisances are private matters and not dealt with by us.

When can you use fireworks?

The Fireworks Regulations 2004 prohibit anyone under 18 from possessing fireworks, and anyone except professionals from possessing display fireworks. 

These regulations also prohibit the use of fireworks at night (11pm – 7am) in England and Wales, except for the following times.

  • Until 1am following the first day of Chinese New Year
  • Until midnight on 5 November
  • Until 1am on the day following Diwali day
  • Until 1am on the day following 31 December

These regulations are enforced by the police. There is a penalty of up to £5,000 or six months in prison for breach of the curfew.

Alarm and distress to animals

There are various laws relating to animal welfare variously enforceable by various agencies including trading standards, the police, us and the RSPCA.