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Private firework party organisers are being warned about the legal responsibilities and risks that garden displays entail, ahead of Bonfire Night on Saturday.

Large public displays have grown in number and popularity, partly because they are safer and offer more ‘bang for your buck’, but many people still prefer the DIY approach and are unaware of the stiff penalties that can be handed out to amateur pyrotechnicians who breach the Fireworks Regulations 2004.

At ARAG, we have highlighted the legislation and risks that need to be considered when planning a private display.

Safety should always be top of the list on Bonfire Night, comments David Haynes, ARAG’s Head of Underwriting & Marketing, “but there are legal responsibilities to consider, and the two often go hand-in-hand.

The legislation wasn’t put in place to discourage people from hosting private displays, just to make them as safe and neighbourly as possible.

home fireworks

ARAG’s checklist for anyone planning a garden display this weekend is:

· Keep it at home - It has been illegal to set off fireworks “in any highway, street, thoroughfare or public place” since the Explosives Act of 1875

· Adults only - Possession of category 2 (garden) and category 3 (display) fireworks in a public place by anyone under the age of 18 is also an offence

· No pro, no show - Only pyrotechnics professionals are legally allowed to buy or possess category 4 (public display) fireworks

· Observe the curfew - Private firework displays must normally end by 11 pm but the curfew is extended to midnight on November 5

The penalty for breaching the regulations can be up to 6 months in prison or a fine of up to £5,000. Such offences can also be dealt with through on-the-spot fines of £90. Anyone hosting a private party or setting off fireworks could also face civil action if a guest is injured by a firework or the bonfire, for example.

Inviting friends round to a garden display is a tradition for many families and it should be straightforward enough to do that safely and legally.” adds David Haynes, “The law isn’t particularly complex, so organisers should be able to focus on having a good, safe party