Publication - Research and analysis

Fireworks legislation and impacts: international evidence review

Desk-based review of evidence on the impact of fireworks, in the context of international legislation and regulations.

65 page PDF

632.7 kB

65 page PDF

632.7 kB

Contents
Fireworks legislation and impacts: international evidence review
Appendix C: Summary of firework regulations in other EU countries

65 page PDF

632.7 kB

Appendix C: Summary of firework regulations in other EU countries

Relevant legislation

Manufacture, labelling and supply

Sale, possession and use

Republic of Ireland

  • Explosives Act 1875
  • Criminal Justice Act 2006
  • The Republic of Ireland does not have any fireworks manufacturers, but fireworks imported and distributed must meet EU standards
  • Category F1 fireworks are available for public sale, possession and use. These can only be sold to those aged 12+
  • Category F2-F4 fireworks are illegal and can be used only be pyro-technicians for public displays, who hold a licence from the Department of Justice
  • It is an offence to light an unlicensed firework, throw a firework at a person or property or have an unlicensed firework
  • Firework related offences carry fine of up to €2,500 or imprisonment for six months, or both
  • Offences which go to the Circuit Court have a fine of €10,000 and 5 years imprisonment, or both
  • The Gardaí have wide powers to investigate firework offences

Germany

  • German Explosives Act (Sprengstoffgesetz) (1978)
  • Fireworks manufactured, imported and distributed in Germany must meet the EU standards
  • All fireworks in Germany have to be approved by the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)
  • As well as displaying the EU CE approval mark, fireworks are given an official authorisation mark (BAM number)
  • Fireworks that have not been tested or authorised are illegal
  • F1 fireworks may be used throughout the year by those aged 12+
  • F2 fireworks can only be sold during the last 3 days of the year and used on the 31st of December and 1st of January by those aged 18+
  • Each municipality is authorised to limit the hours this lasts locally; many impose tighter conditions
  • Fireworks are forbidden in the vicinity of churches, hospitals, children's homes, retirement homes and wooden or thatch roofed buildings
  • Offences carry a fine of up to €50,000 or three years in prison, or both
  • F3 and F4 fireworks may be bought and used only by professionals with a licence

Belgium

  • Royal Order concerning the supply of pyrotechnic articles (2015)
  • Decree on Local Government
  • Fireworks manufactured, imported and distributed in Belgium must meet the EU standards
  • Since July 2017 the sale of both F3 and F4 fireworks to non-professionals is a criminal offence in Belgium
  • The age limits for the sale of F1 and F2 fireworks are in line with the EU regulations

Finland

  • Act on the safe handling of dangerous chemicals and explosives
  • Government decree on the control of handling and storage of dangerous chemicals
  • Government decree on the safety requirements of manufacturing, handling and storage of explosives
  • Fireworks manufactured, imported and distributed in Finland must meet the EU standards
  • The storage and sale of fireworks in premises requires a decision from local rescue authorities, which must be given a month in advance
  • Fireworks can only be used by those aged 18+
  • All fireworks users must wear safety glasses
  • Local rescue authorities must be notified about the use of fireworks at least five days before the event
  • The rescue authorities may prohibit the use of fireworks, or set the user some terms and restrictions necessary to their safety
  • Fireworks can be used without a notification sent to the rescue authorities between 6pm on New Year's Eve, December 31, and 2am on January 1
  • Several municipalities in Finland have prohibited the use of fireworks or made them off limits in the city centre

The Netherlands

  • Vuurwerkbesluit ('Fireworks Decree')
  • The Netherlands used to host several fireworks manufacturers, but in the late 1990s almost all production of fireworks was moved abroad
  • The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) is responsible for safety testing of fireworks in the Netherlands
  • Retailers are not allowed to sell more than 25 kilos of fireworks per delivery, and not allowed to store more than 500 kilo of fireworks in their showroom
  • Category F1 fireworks are on sale and usable throughout the year by those aged 12+
  • Category F2 and F3 fireworks are on sale the last three days of the year from licenced retailers, and only to be used from 6pm on 31st of December until 2am on 1st of January. Using fireworks outside these hours is punishable by confiscation and a fine of 100 euros
  • Category F4 fireworks are for professional use only. A general business permit is required to use these which is issued by regional Environmental Agencies
  • Permission is required to set off professional fireworks, which is granted by the provincial authority. The province has set requirements with regard to extinguishing agents, safety distances, packages and transport
  • Fireworks are forbidden near shopping centres, nursing homes, animal shelters and historic buildings and monuments

Sweden

  • The Swedish Public Order Act
  • The governing body responsible for issuing 154-Licences and testing of pyrotechnic products is MSB. This organisation tests that all pyrotechnic products conform to environmental and safety regulations
  • MSB also has the jurisdiction to oversee storage and sales of fireworks, to ensure compliance with local laws
  • Most municipalities have their own rules for how and where fireworks may be used
  • Firecrackers were banned in Sweden in 2002
  • Heavier rockets were banned in Sweden in 2014
  • From June 2019, skyrockets need to be launched with 'control sticks' and anyone buying and lighting skyrockets must complete a special training course set up by the municipalities to obtain a permit; retailers may only sell skyrockets to permit holders

Czech Republic

  • The Act on Pyrotechnics (2015)
  • The Act on Pyrotechnics incorporated the EU legislation on fireworks with regards to manufacturing, labelling and supply, and streamlined existing legislation on fireworks in the Czech Republic
  • Traders or professionals may only sell fireworks that have been certified as compliant, are marked in accordance with the requirements of the Act on Pyrotechnics, are in the original packaging and have not expired
  • If those with a trade licence do not meet the requirements of the Act they can face a fine of up to 5 000 000 CZK
  • F1 fireworks are available to individuals aged 15+
  • F2 fireworks are available to those aged 18+
  • F3 fireworks are available to those aged 21+, or those aged 18+ who hold a certificate of professional competence
  • To obtain this certificate, individuals must have a secondary school diploma, be legally competent, have a clean criminal record, be medically fit, and undergo specialised training courses
  • F4 fireworks are available to professionals only
  • Firework displays must be reported to the relevant municipal authority or Regional Fire Brigade at least 2 days before
  • Firework displays must be conducted by a trader or professionally qualified person. If rules for holding a firework display are not followed, individuals can be fined up to 500 000 CZK

Spain

  • The Regulation on Pyrotechnic Articles and Ammunition
  • The 'Regulation on Pyrotechnic Articles and Ammunition' incorporated the EU directives the Spanish legal system
  • A catalogue of available fireworks is held by the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism (MINCOTUR), including data on the traceability of fireworks
  • MINCOTUR publishes the catalogue of fireworks online, as a public register of fireworks
  • To sell fireworks in Spain, retailers must have an authorised establishment or obtain specific authorisation from the relevant Government Delegation, having first obtained a report from the Industry and Energy Department and the Arms and Explosives Division (IAE) of the corresponding Civil Guard Command
  • Age limits on the sale and use of fireworks are in line with the EU regulations. However, given the use of fireworks for traditional celebrations and cultural and religious festivities in Spain, some powers are granted to autonomous regions in Spain relating to public shows and the 'promotion of culture'
  • Specifically, the autonomous regions may lower the minimum age for the use of fireworks in Categories F1 and F2 for those classified fireworks 'intended for use as part of well-established customs', to 8 and 10 years respectively
  • Users in these age ranges must be trained on the fireworks, be under supervision of an adult, and have written authorisation from a parent/guardian
  • Misuse of fireworks can lead to a fine, with the amount dependent on whether the infringement is classed as minor, serious or very serious

Contact

Email: Socialresearch@gov.scot