BUSINESS, ENTERPRISE AND REGULATORY REFORM News Release (2008/242)
issued by COI News Distribution Service. 24 October 2008
In the run up to
Bonfire Night the Government is targeting the small minority of
irresponsible businesses who flout the law by selling fireworks to
Consumer Minister Gareth Thomas said:
"Fireworks can do terrible damage in the wrong hands.
Retailers and parents must take their responsibilities seriously.
"Our tough laws mean firework sellers who break the law face
stiff fines or even prison.
"They must follow the rules and parents should take
essential safety precautions so that everyone stays safe and has a
great time on bonfire night."
If fireworks do get into the wrong hands the police have strong
powers to tackle anti-social behaviour. Anyone over the age of 10
caught misbehaving with fireworks can be given a fixed penalty notice.
Earlier this month Home Office published "Tackling Firework
Misuse - A practitioner's guide", which illustrates the
powers available to local authorities and police. These include
Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, Acceptable Behaviour Contracts and
penalty notices for disorder, which can be used to tackle the
small minority of people who misuse fireworks.
Home Office Minister Alan Campbell said:
"Fireworks can be fun, but if misused they can also be a
nuisance. We have provided a wide range of tools and powers to
tackle anti-social behaviour associated with fireworks going off
late at night, or even being deliberately used to cause harm and
distress. I want local agencies to make full use these tools to
tackle nuisance behaviour in their areas for the benefit of the
Tough firework laws mean:
* It is illegal to sell fireworks to under 18s, or for under 18s
to possess fireworks in a public place;
* Fireworks that exceed 120 decibels cannot be sold to the
general public; and
* Outside specific seasonal periods it is an offence to supply
fireworks without a licence.
Across the UK, trading standards teams are targeting those
retailers who are suspected of selling fireworks to underage buyers.
Trading Standards Institute chief executive Ron Gainsford said:
"We want to make sure that people can enjoy the bonfire
"Trading standards professionals around the country will be
taking action to make sure that fireworks are not sold to under
18s and that retailers are complying with safe storage requirements.
"In particular, we are concerned about unscrupulous traders
who sell fireworks from illegal premises such as vans, pub car
parks and market stalls."
Anyone buying and setting off their own fireworks in a display
for family and friends should check the Firework Code first, or
risk putting themselves or their loved ones in danger.
Notes to Editors
1. Members of the public injured by fireworks may be available
for interview - please contact BERR press office on 0207 215 5976
for more information.
2. Anyone buying or setting off fireworks should first check the
* Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114
* Don't drink
alcohol if setting off fireworks
* Keep fireworks in a closed
* Follow the instructions on each firework
* Light at
arm's length, using a taper
* Stand well back
go near a firework that has been lit. Even if it hasn't gone
off, it could still explode
* Never put fireworks in your
pocket or throw them
* Always supervise children around
* Light sparklers one at a time and wear
* Never give sparklers to a child under five
3. "Tackling Fireworks Misuse - A practitioner's
guide" is on the web at http://www.respect.gov.uk/members/default.aspx?id=5982.
4. Anyone with information about suspicious activity involving
fireworks should report it immediately to Consumer Direct on 08454 040506.
5. For more information on firework safety from the Department
for Business, visit http://www.berr.gov.uk/fireworks.
6. In one example of trading standards action, all registered
firework sellers in Dundee will face undercover purchasing by
young volunteers in a bid to tackle underage sales.