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Laws and Facts on Bonfires: Should You Build Your Own?

Excited about Bonfire Night? If you’re undecided whether to host your own bonfire and fireworks display, there are several good reasons why you should consider attending a public event.

Do You Need a Permit for a Bonfire Night Event?

There are no laws that state you cannot have bonfire in your garden. There are, however, rules governing the nuisance they may cause to neighbours.

It is illegal to burn any household waste that could cause pollution or affect people’s health. If the smoke from your bonfire were to drift and affect visibility on the road, this could be dangerous to drivers and is an offence. These same laws apply throughout the year, not just on Bonfire Night.

If your bonfire causes a nuisance to your neighbours, your council may issue an ‘abatement notice’ which, if ignored could result in a £5,000 fine.

Safety First

Where there is fire there is risk. The potential hazards of building your own bonfire in your garden are, perhaps, obvious. Fire is not easily controlled if your bonfire is not well managed, and what was meant to begin as a Bonfire Night tradition and fun could end in damage to property and injury if safety isn’t made your primary concern.

The same could most certainly be said of fireworks, which are essentially explosives. The NHS estimates that there are approximately 1,000 firework-related injuries in the UK every year, and that the majority occur at parties and events at home.

As we have previously explained in our blog Fireworks: The Laws, Facts and Realities, it is not a legal requirement to have any licence or training to use fireworks, though when an event with a larger firework display is insured, training may be a requirement of the underwriters.

Though instructions should be provided on all ‘CE’ marked fireworks, there is a risk when you put on your own firework display, or attend a display in a friend’s garden.

Public displays, however, are plentiful – be it at a local club, an official event at a park or school. At such events, as well as there likely being a grander display and bonfire than you might be able to safely manage in your garden, all of the safety precautions should have been taken care of – not to mention that public liability insurance should be in place to cover the event of an accident or injury.

If you are injured on an accident involving fireworks through no fault of your own you may be able to make a personal injury claim. For legal advice about claiming compensation, call Slater and Gordon Personal Injury Lawyers on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online.

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