Bonfire Night in Scotland: The laws you need to know about setting off fireworks

It is against the law for anyone in Scotland to set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except on certain occasions (Photo: Shutterstock)
It is against the law for anyone in Scotland to set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except on certain occasions (Photo: Shutterstock)

You might be surprised to discover that there are laws about when fireworks can be sold, and who can buy them - as well as the times fireworks can be set off.

by Debbie Clarke

You can be fined up to 5,000 and/or be sentenced to up to six months in jail for illegally selling or misusing fireworks (Photo: Shutterstock)

You can be fined up to 5,000 and/or be sentenced to up to six months in jail for illegally selling or misusing fireworks (Photo: Shutterstock)

How old do you have to be to buy fireworks?

You can’t buy ‘adult’ fireworks in Scotland if you are under 18.

Adult fireworks are classed as category two and three fireworks - they don’t include things like party poppers. Category four display fireworks can only be bought and used by professionals.

What time should you stop setting off fireworks?

It is against the law for anyone in Scotland to set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except on certain occasions.

On Bonfire Night, the cut off is midnight. For New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, this is extended to 1am. You should check with your council to find out about any local rules for setting off fireworks.

Can you set off fireworks in your street?

The law says you must not set off or throw fireworks (including sparklers) in the street or other public places. It is also an offence for anyone under 18 to possess fireworks in a public place.

You should check with your council to find out about any local rules for setting off fireworks.

What are the other firework offences?

It is also an offence to modify, tamper with or misuse fireworks, or to cause unnecessary suffering to any domestic or captive animals using fireworks.

How much can you be fined if you break the law regarding fireworks?

There are a number of statutory offences which carry notable penalties. Police can issue an on-the-spot fine if you are caught selling or using fireworks illegally. You can be fined up to £5,000 and/or be sentenced to up to six months in jail for this offence.

Fireworks must be sold by a registered vendor to someone who is at least 18 years old for private use between either 15 October and 10 November or 26 and 31 December, as well as three days before Diwali and Chinese New Year.