Issued By
Lancashire County Council

Victory For Lancashire County Council As Government Announces Proposal to Outlaw Dangerous ‘Pocket Money’ Fireworks


Following years of campaigning by Lancashire County Council to control the sale of cheap ‘air bomb’ fireworks, which cause injury and nuisance when misused, the Consumer Minister, Melanie Johnson MP has unveiled proposals to ban the sale of ‘pocket money’ air bombs.

In response to rising complaints and injuries in Lancashire, the County Council developed a ‘five point’ plan to improve firework safety and reduce nuisance complaints.  This included banning the sale of ‘pocket money’ air bombs, the main nuisance firework which has reduced in price to as little as 99p for four fireworks.  This plan has gained steady support from Trading Standards Services and the Firework Industry nationwide, and John Woodhead, Chair of the British Firework Association, commended Lancashire’s aims to the Consumer Minister saying:

“The British Fireworks Association has reached agreement with the DTI on measures to deal with the air bomb menace highlighted so clearly in Lancashire Trading Standards Firework Bulletin.  Starting next year (2003) Guy Fawkes night and the period around it will be both quieter and safer.

“I, personally, as Chairman of the BFA, am most grateful to Lancashire Trading Standards for actively addressing firework problems and for prompting the firework industry to take this important action.”

The ban on the sale of air bombs will come into effect from 1st January 2003, initially as a voluntary agreement supported by the British Fireworks Association, followed by a legal ban on the sale.

The action plan announced by the Minister was developed after the number of injuries among young teenagers rose by more than 50 per cent last year – the biggest increase for the last seven years.  As well as banning air bombs, the action plan also includes a crackdown on illegal markets in fireworks with improved co-ordination of intelligence between Customs and Excise, the HSE and Trading Standards.  Councils will also be encouraged to use their powers to curb the problem of noise and nuisance caused by fireworks.

County Councillor Tim Ormrod, Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Rural Affairs, said:

“We are delighted with these proposals.  Acting on public complaints, we identified the need to reform firework controls and produced a five point plan to address firework misuse and danger.

“The danger posed by ‘pocket money’ air bombs was clearly identified in this plan and our campaign gained momentum ultimately leading to the latest proposals on controlling dangerous fireworks.  Our aim is making Lancashire a safer place and reduce nuisance ‘hooligan’ fireworks.”

Note to Editors: A copy of “Fireworks – The Need for Improved Safety Controls” produced by Lancashire County Council Trading Standards Department, is available on request.  The ‘five points’

for action are:



For further information contact:


Jim Potts (Chief Trading Standards Officer) 01772 263644

Paul Noone (Deputy Chief Trading Standards Officer (01772 264123)