Fireworks in Tower Hamlets
While they might be fun, pretty and traditional for many cultures around the world, fireworks are harmful for people and animals. They generate noise and air pollution that is upsetting and potentially dangerous. While the council does not have the power to ban sale of fireworks, they do have responsibilities to enforce licensing laws made by central government.
In the run-up to Guy Fawkes Night, I am returning to the topic having done some work on this last year.
Buying fireworks – licensing and trading standards
I submitted a Member Enquiry in 2022 about the council’s work to enforce fireworks sale licensing.
I got the following response from the council’s head of Environmental Health and Trading Standards:
“Environmental Health and Trading Standards are responsible for enforcing the laws relating to the sale and safe storage of fireworks, including sales to children and product safety.
Permitted sales periods are:
- from 15 October to 10 November
- from 26 to 31 December
- on the first day of the Chinese New Year and the three days immediately preceding this
- on the first day of Diwali and the three days immediately preceding this
For sales outside of these periods, retailers need to apply for an all-year sales licence and
pay a fee. A licence is also required for any premises wishing to store commercial quantities of
For the 2022 firework season only five premises in Tower Hamlets applied for licences to
All premises were visited by Trading Standards Officers to assess compliance. Minor issues
were remedied either at the time of the inspection or dealt with via advice/warnings which are
then followed up by re-visits to confirm compliance.
Fireworks were also seized from one shop which had not applied for a licence, and which
was found to be storing them under unsafe conditions.
If you have concerns about a place selling fireworks, please report the business to the Environmental Health team at the council:
Telephone: 020 7364 5008
Using fireworks – having fun safely
London Fire Brigade has some tips for enjoying fireworks safely: London Fire
If you are concerned about people in your area not using fireworks safely, please make a report to the police. In an emergency, call 999, if it is not an emergency, please make a report by calling 101.