Animal safety - celebrations with bonfires and fireworks

Many of us enjoy a good fireworks display, but sadly, many animals don't, because their heightened senses mean that the loud bangs and whistles can cause actual pain in their ears. This includes domestic pets as well as livestock and horses.


Bonfire Night - planning to celebrate

GOV.UK has guidance on celebrating with bonfires and fireworks.  This sets out a few simple measures that can help you celebrate with bonfires safely.

It includes safety tips for hosting and enjoying your own safe fireworks party, and on having a safe bonfire, as well as what to consider if you are attending an organised fireworks display.

We have put together some fireworks and bonfire advice.

Our local pledge

In 2020 we pledged to help to make fireworks safer and quieter. This can help everyone to enjoy bonfire night responsibly and prevents distress to pets and other animals.

We're also committed to encouraging all public firework displays within Uttlesford District Council's administrative boundary to be advertised in advance of the event.

More about the Uttlesford fireworks pledge.

Farm and wild animals

You should not set off fireworks near fields or homes containing horses and livestock.

It is also important to remember that bonfire night falls at a time when many wild animals begin to search for somewhere to hibernate for the winter. Wildlife such as hedgehogs, may have to chosen to hibernate where a bonfire is planned.

    Fireworks frighten animals banner

    Bonfire night - keeping your pet safe

    If you or your neighbours are planning to celebrate bonfire night with fireworks, you can make them less frightening for animals. The RSPCA has published some helpful tips for keeping animals safe when fireworks are being let off.

    • Go to an organised event - this will reduce the overall number of fireworks disturbing animals
    • Please only let fireworks off on or around traditional celebration dates (Diwali, Bonfire Night, New Year's Eve and Chinese New Year). Most owners will already know to expect fireworks on these dates, and should have prepared accordingly to help their animals cope. Look for low noise fireworks and let your neighbours know well in advance to animals including horses and livestock can be prepared.
    • Never set off fireworks near livestock, as frightened animals, especially horses, can injure themselves when frightened.
    • Remember, fireworks can also disturb wildlife so steer clear of known habitats like lakes with waterfowl and trees with roosting birds.
    • Check bonfires for wildlife before lighting as animals like hedgehogs may be hibernating.
    • Pick up any firework litter after it has cooled down and dispose of it safely, as it can harm animals

    Burning waste on bonfire night

    If you want to use your bonfire night celebration to burn some waste the Environment Agency has made some recommendations.

    Make sure the waste does not endanger human health or the environment before, during or after burning. You must not:

    • cause a risk to water, air, soil, plants or animals
    • cause a nuisance through noise or odours
    • adversely affect the countryside or places of special interest"