Press releases

Trading standards asks: is your garden big enough?

Members of the public who are buying fireworks could be putting themselves and others at risk if they don't take notice of safety distances.

Local Authority trading standards services are warning that those who don't have big enough gardens will be playing with fire when lighting Category 3 fireworks.

The vast majority of the fireworks being sold are Category 3, all of which state that a spectator must be at least 25 metres away when the firework is lit. This is a safety concern as few people have access to that amount of private space.

Trading Standards Institute spokeswoman, Christine Heemskerk, lead officer for product safety said: 'Category 3 fireworks are becoming bigger and more powerful and many people do not realise that there is supposed to be a safety distance of 25 metres - which is a lot further than most people realise.

'Category 2's safety distance is just five metres so it's a big jump between Categories 2 and 3.'

Because of their size and power, Category 3 fireworks also need to be properly secured. Not all fireworks have to be part-buried but those that do need to be placed far enough into the ground for a successful launch and to reduce the risk of them firing across the ground and causing injuries. Some can be placed on flat surfaces, fixed to posts etc in accordance with the instructions printed on them.

'Regardless of how responsible the person may be lighting the fireworks, lighting them in a small garden puts everybody at risk' added Martin Window, spokesman for trading standards.

'We do not want to dampen anyone's mood this Bonfire night but it is our duty to point out the risks to those who are putting on their own firework displays this year. The safety distance for a Category 3 is set for one reason only - to protect members of the public.'

The size and power of Category 3 fireworks is becoming quite a concern. TSI are also urging retailers to warn customers of the appropriate safety distance before the Category 3 fireworks are sold.

Trading Standards around the country are carrying out routine firework inspections at retail premises.

When buying fireworks, trading standards advise the public that they are bought from a reputable retailer and not from itinerant traders.

Further information from the TSI press Office on 0870 872 9030

Notes to Editors

Under the Firework Regulations 2004 and the Manufacture and Storage of Explosives Regulations 2005:

No person shall use adult fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except from:

  • 11pm to midnight on 5 November
  • 11pm on 31 December and 1am on 1 January
  • The first day of Chinese New Year, from 11pm to 1am the following day
  • The first day of Diwali, from 11pm to 1am the following day

Sales of fireworks are allowed only between:

  • 15 October to 10 November
  • 26 December to 31 December
  • The first day of Chinese New Year and the three days preceding this
  • The day of Diwali and the three days preceding this

Any sale of fireworks during these periods requires registration and if a trader wishes to sell outside these periods, it requires a special licence.

Trading Standards Institute

The Trading Standards Institute has represented the interests of Trading Standards professionals for 120 years. We have a long and proud history of ensuring that the views of our members are well represented at the highest level of government, both nationally and internationally.

Our aim is to promote excellence and enhance the professionalism of our members in support of empowering and informing consumers, encouraging and working with honest businesses, targeting rogue traders and rogue trading practices and contributing to the health, welfare and wellbeing of citizens and communities.

TSI members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities in response to 2 million consumer and business complaints and enquiries each year. They also support the delivery of new initiatives such as Consumer Direct, providing first point of contact practical consumer advice.

They also work in the business, consumer and central government sectors in promoting and influencing the safety, prosperity and enhancement of individuals and markets with a dependency on effective and professional trading standards contributions and interventions.