Help for Heroes is calling upon the Secretary of State for Business and Trade to commission an independent review of the current firework legislation with a remit to consider tighter restrictions on their sale in England and Wales.  

The fireworks season can be a particularly distressing time for veterans. Unexpected flashes of light, loud noises, and the smell of fireworks and bonfires can bring back painful and traumatic memories of combat. Current legislation allows for fireworks to be sold to the public from 15 October to 10 November each year - as well as around other annual festivals - so veterans face a challenging month when private displays can be set off at any time.

Why do we need tighter restrictions?

New research carried out by ourselves and Combat Stress, which revealed 74 per cent of veterans want tighter restrictions on the days/times when fireworks can be set off; 67 per cent want a reduction in the overall number of days fireworks can be sold to the public; and 23 per cent said fireworks have triggered a negative experience for them personally.

PTSD can affect anyone who has experienced a traumatic event. However, there is evidence to suggest that Armed Forces personnel and veterans are at a higher risk.

 A 2018 study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, found probable PTSD among military personnel to be 6.2 per cent compared with 4 per cent in the general population. Furthermore, higher rates are seen among veterans who were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, with the rate of probable PTSD of 9 per cent compared to 5 per cent for veterans who did not deploy.

The unexpected nature of fireworks can cause significant issues for people suffering from PTSD, and seriously increase symptoms and resulting issues:

  • Hypervigilance (constantly being on high alert)
  • Intense physical reactions to reminders of the event that caused PTSD
  • Reduced tolerance to noise (hyperacusis)
  • Feeling jumpy and easily startled

What we’re doing

  • We have joined a coalition of 10 other charities to campaign for a review of fireworks legislation to be commissioned, including Dogs Trust, Blue Cross, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, British Veterinary Association, Cats Protection, Children’s Burns Trust, The Kennel Club, PTSD UK, Redwings Horse Sanctuary, and Dan’s Fund for Burns.
  • As part of this coalition, we have held two drop-in sessions in Parliament for MPs to come and show their support for the campaign.
  • In 2023, we jointly commissioned YouGov polling with Combat Stress to investigate the impact that current firework legislation has upon the veteran community. We also jointly wrote to the Secretary of State for Business and Trade asking to meet with officials to take forward this campaign.
  • We launched the 'The Firework Heroes Code' encouraging the public to be mindful of the impact of fireworks on veterans and how to avoid causing unnecessary distress.

Get involved in this campaign

You can help support this campaign and help veterans in England and Wales by following the 'The Firework Heroes Code' and sharing it with your neighbours and local groups ahead of the bonfire season.

If you want more information on this campaign, please contact our Senior Public Affairs and Policy Manager Ted Arnold at