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Advice for Caithness residents on Hogmanay fireworks – non-compliance can lead to heavy fines and jail time

By David G Scott

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As we approach Hogmanay, Caithness residents should understand the laws and potential fines associated with using fireworks during this festive period.

Paving Shopper warns that "knowledge not only ensures a safe and legal celebration but also helps avoid unexpected legal consequences".

Firework Regulations in the UK

The UK has specific laws regarding the use, purchase, and possession of fireworks. Here's what you need to know:

Purchase and Possession

Age Limit: You must be over 18 to buy fireworks.

Permitted Times: Fireworks can be purchased from registered sellers for private use on specific dates: October 15 to November 10, December 26 to 31, three days before Diwali and Chinese New Year.

Always buy fireworks from licensed suppliers. Illegal fireworks can be hazardous.

Using Fireworks at Home

Curfew: Fireworks should not be set off between 11pm and 7am. Exceptions include November 5th (till midnight), Diwali, New Year's Eve, and Chinese New Year (till 1am).

Noise Level: There's a noise limit of 120 decibels for consumer fireworks.

Wick's Gala display of fireworks in 2018. Picture: DGS
Wick's Gala display of fireworks in 2018. Picture: DGS

Safety Guidelines

  • Follow the Firework Code for safe use.
  • Inform neighbours, particularly those with young children, pets, or livestock.
  • Never go back to a lit firework and keep a safe distance.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Not adhering to these regulations can lead to serious consequences:

Fines: Failing to follow curfew times can result in a fine of up to £5000.

Imprisonment: You could face imprisonment for up to 6 months for selling or using fireworks illegally.

On-the-Spot Fines: Police can issue on-the-spot fines of £90 for minor offences.

Tips for Homeowners and Renters

If You're Planning to Host a Firework Display:

  • Check Your Lease or Mortgage Agreement: Some agreements may have clauses against the use of fireworks.
  • Consider the Community: Be mindful of the impact on your neighbourhood.

If You're Attending Public Displays:

Safety First: Public displays are safer and often more spectacular.

Respect Regulations: Adhere to local guidelines and instructions.

Steven Bell, CEO of Paving Shopper says: "Celebrating the New Year with fireworks can be a joyous occasion, but it's essential to stay informed about the laws and regulations to ensure a safe and legal celebration. By adhering to these guidelines, UK homeowners and renters can enjoy the festivities without the worry of legal repercussions.

"Remember, the spirit of NYE is about ushering in the New Year with joy and hope. Let's make sure we do it safely and responsibly!"

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