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Trading Standards are keeping London safe over bonfire night

Posted 04/11/17

Figures published by London Trading Standards show the good news that the vast majority of shops across the capital are rightly refusing to sell fireworks to young people. It is illegal to sell “adult” fireworks (category F2) to anyone under 18

In 2016, 256 firework test purchases were attempted by 22 London Trading Standards departments, using child volunteers. Just nine sales (3.5%) of fireworks were made to children, which shows that businesses are really getting their act together and following advice. 

Further spot checks are underway this year and so far the results are as encouraging. 

Trading Standards Officers also have responsibility to check that shops are storing fireworks safely and most of the 33 London Boroughs will be undertaking these inspections across London this year. 

Steve Playle, a spokesperson for London Trading Standards said:

“We welcome the results of this survey which show that businesses are responding to our efforts to support them to comply with the law. This means that our work is helping to prevent anti-social behaviour and protect Londoners from harm is really working.

The partnership work to tackle the illegal supply of fireworks and other age restricted goods to children continues to utilise London Trading Standards’ expertise in conducting test purchasing and we have an important role to play. 

Anyone with information about shops that sell age restricted products to children can report it anonymously via the London Trading Standards reporting tool at www.londontradingstandards.org.uk

 London Trading Standards departments work in close partnership with the Metropolitan Police, most recently in relation to the sale of knives and with the London Fire Brigade every year as part of “Operation Autumn Nights” to tackle firework related issues. The London Fire Brigade also share information with Trading Standards about products that may have started fires. 

Superintendent Tania Coulson of the Metropolitan Police said: 

"We are here to ensure young people enjoy the festivities but remain safe in doing so.

"Our operations are not aimed at ruining the fun of this time of year but are in place to ensure those who are intent on committing crime and anti-social behaviour are dealt with accordingly."

Londoners should bear in mind particular issues that may affect them when choosing what fireworks to use on their property. The safety instructions for many garden fireworks require you to stand a minimum safe distance of 25 metres away. However, many gardens in London are often not long enough to use such fireworks safely. Other fireworks can be selected with shorter safety distances that suit the type of garden to be used, ensuring the safety of all who want to enjoy them. 

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), also recently launched a new poster about firework safety. 

On the 5th of November remember:

  •          There will be a large number of organised firework displays; consider attending one of these
  •          You must be over 18 to buy fireworks
  •          It is illegal to possess fireworks in a public place if you are under 18
  •          It is an offence to throw or let off a firework in a street or public place
  •          You can use fireworks every day of the year between the hours of 7am and 11pm, except on Bonfire Night (midnight), Diwali, New Year, and Chinese New Year (1am)


Editors notes: 

  1. London Trading Standards (LTS) represents the 33 Local Authority Trading Standards services in the London Region. We share information and awareness campaigns across the capital to protect consumers and safeguard legitimate enterprise. http://www.londontradingstandards.org.uk/ 
  2. Our members advise on and enforce laws that govern the way we buy, sell, rent and hire goods and services. We carry out inspections and monitor or investigate complaints. We endeavour to work with businesses to help achieve compliance but ultimately we can prosecute those who break the law. 
  3. You can be fined up to £5,000 and imprisoned for up to 6 months for selling or using fireworks illegally. There is also the possibility of getting an on-the-spot fine of £90. 
  4.  Consumers may report London related information on Trading Standards issues to London Trading Standards, via our online reporting tool http://www.londontradingstandards.org.uk/report-consumer-crime/  The information will be passed on to the relevant authority or organisation. Please note it is a confidential no-reply service. If you need advice or guidance please contact the Citizens Advice Consumer helpline. https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/ 
  5. Further details about LTS underage sales work can be found at londontradingstandards.org.uk/underage-sales/
  6. Chartered Trading Standards Institute firework safety poster:

Contact Details: 

London Trading Standards - media@londontradingstandards.org.uk  





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