These are the rules for setting off fireworks in your garden on Bonfire Night 2020

Thursday, 5th November 2020, 11:47 am
Updated Thursday, 5th November 2020, 11:48 am

With events cancelled all across the country in the wake of coronavirus, many people had been hoping to celebrate the magic of Bonfire Night this year.

Yet, in true 2020 fashion, all the iconic, large-scale fireworks displays across the country have been shelved due to social distancing fears.

Things were looking up with the arrival of drive-in fireworks displays - but these too have either been cancelled or postponed due to England entering a second national lockdown on Bonfire Night itself.

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The lack of Guy Fawkes events will be a huge blow to children, teenagers and adults alike, as the 5 November celebrations are some of the most-anticipated of the calendar year.

Thousands of people usually attend their local fireworks displays, with the UK being home to some impressive shows.

You are probably wondering whether any Bonfire Night events are taking place in England and what the rules are when it comes to hosting your own.

Read on for everything you need to know.

Which fireworks displays have been cancelled this year?

England is home to some renowned Bonfire Night events, in celebration of Guy Fawkes’ foiled plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament all those centuries ago.

Unfortunately, Covid-19 restrictions have forced organisers to cancel their plans and major fireworks displays will not take place in London, Sussex, the Midlands, Manchester, Yorkshire, Devon and Newcastle.

That means the renowned Skinningrove Bonfire, in North Yorkshire, which usually features a huge centrepiece made up of themed wooden structures, has been cancelled.

Further south in Lewes, East Sussex, the biggest Bonfire Night celebrations in the UK have also been called off. The event normally attracts 80,000 people each year to the quaint market town.

It’s a similar fate for the unique Tar Barrels celebrations at Ottery St Mary in Devon, a tradition which is said to date all the way back to the 17th century.

Londoners won’t be able to go to Alexandra Place to enjoy the Fireworks Festival, one of the city’s most impressive displays which features cinema screenings, a German bier festival and street food stalls.

And, it’s the same story for the event at Kenilworth Castle, one of the most-anticipated fireworks displays in the Midlands.

The situation is no different in Manchester, where the biggest bonfire event in the city, Heaton Park, has been shelved.

And last, but not least, Newcastle’s spectacular event at the remains of Segedunum Roman Fort, just off the banks of the River Tyne, has inevitably been cancelled.

Are any fireworks displays still happening in England?

Due to the national lockdown, which begins on Thursday, no public Bonfire Night events will be taking place this year.

All of England’s drive-in fireworks displays, which were originally organised as a socially-distanced alternative to the traditional Guy Fawkes celebrations, have either been cancelled or postponed until restrictions have eased.

That includes the sold-out Autumn Lights event at Elvington Airfield, Yorkshire. Organisers had sold tickets for 2,200 cars but have now been forced to move the event until after lockdown on 17 December, when it will be given a “festive theme”.

There are a number of things you can do at home to celebrate the night instead, including toasting marshmallows around a campfire, lighting sparklers, making hot chocolate and, if you have kids, buying some colourful pens so they can draw their own fireworks displays.

Can I host my own fireworks display?

The second national lockdown restrictions prohibit households from mixing indoors and in gardens, with the only exceptions being support bubbles.

These rules mean you could only host a fireworks display in your garden with the people you live with, and any breach of the guidance could result in a £200 fine.

It doesn’t look like there is any government guidance which would prevent people setting off their own rockets, although several councils and fire services in England have issued warnings regarding using fireworks at home.

There is also a legal midnight curfew for setting off fireworks in England, and it’s also against the law to set off fireworks in the street or public places.

Visit the UK Fire Service’s website for more information on how to set off fireworks safely.