Fireworks are not banned in London on New Year’s Eve

21 October 2021
What was claimed

The Mayor of London has cancelled New Year’s Eve celebrations and will not allow fireworks but will allow fireworks for Diwali.

Our verdict

The Mayor’s New Year’s Eve fireworks on the banks of the Thames are not happening because of the pandemic, but fireworks in general are allowed up until 1am on New Year’s Eve, as they always are. This is also the case for Diwali.

A post on Facebook with over 700 comments says: “the Mayor of London has cancelled New Year's Eve celebrations in London......and will not allow fireworks.  Yet is it true that he will allow celebrations of Divali [sic], including fireworks?”

It’s true that the Mayor’s office recently announced that the New Year fireworks display usually held on the banks of the Thames would not be going ahead on New Year’s Eve 2021 because of the pandemic. However, an application has been made by the Greater London Authority to Westminster council to hold a “one-off live variety performance event, on Friday 31 December 2021” in Trafalgar Square. It’s not clear if there will be fireworks. 

The traditional New Year firework display in London was also cancelled because of the pandemic in 2020, but was replaced by a smaller scale fireworks and lights show.

There will be an event in Trafalgar Square for Diwali on 23 October, which will include “light effects” but doesn’t mention fireworks. There are firework displays planned to celebrate both Diwali and Bonfire Night in other parts of London.

Even if the New Year’s Eve fireworks display has been cancelled, this does not mean that all fireworks in the capital are banned. 

In England and Wales, it’s illegal to set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except on certain occasions. These include 5 November, when the cut-off is at midnight, and New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali, when the cut-off to stop begins at 1am the following day. 

So although the firework display usually held on the banks of the Thames is not happening, at the moment Londoners are still allowed to set off fireworks on New Year’s Eve until midnight as they always have been.

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