Reducing plastics at the British Fireworks Championships

  • Council working with partners to exclude fireworks that include unnecessary plastics
  • Catering at the event will also reduce single-use plastics like cutlery and straws

Plymouth City Council is working with key partners to reduce single-use plastics at the British Firework Championships, the city’s biggest annual event.

Taking place on Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 August this year, the British Firework Championships sees six of the country’s top firework companies battle it out, putting on a ten-minute display in a bid to be crowned the best.

The displays are fired from Mount Batten pier, designed with Plymouth Hoe as the best viewing spot.

The Council is working with Environment Plymouth and TESA (The Event Services Association who are a trade body representing the outdoor events industry in the UK) to reduce single-use plastics at the competition, to lessen the impact on the environment.

Examples of the plastic components that will not be used this year.

Plastics are used within fireworks for a number of reasons. Some types of firework contain a plastic ‘pod’ which contains the different elements that colour the displays and these are sometimes propelled into the environment, which means they can end up in the sea. The competition rules have been tightened up this year to exclude certain types of fireworks which clearly include additional plastic.

Councillor Pete Smith, Deputy Leader of Plymouth City Council, said: “The British Firework Championships are a key event in Plymouth’s calendar and the spectacular displays are enjoyed by tens of thousands of people each year.

“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to work together with partners to agree new rules that will reduce the use of plastics in the displays, helping to greatly reduce the environmental impact of this event, without compromising the incredible displays and entertainment.”

Recently Plymouth became the largest UK city to be awarded Plastic Free City status by the global charity Surfers Against Sewage. The work to achieve this was led by Environment Plymouth on behalf of the Plymouth, Britain’s Ocean City Plastics Taskforce, of which Plymouth City Council is one of the key partners. The Taskforce also recently launched the new Plastics Code of Conduct to help local businesses cut down on plastic waste.

Councillor Sue Dann, Cabinet Member for Street Scene and the Environment, “Since the Plan for Plastics was launched in June 2018 we have achieved so much with our partners to reduce single use plastics and this is another great step forward.

“Doing all we can to protect our historic waterfront is also a key part of our plans for Plymouth to be the UK’s first National Marine Park.”

Jackie Young Co-ordinator for Environment Plymouth and the Community Lead for Plastic Free Plymouth said: “We are delighted to have been able to work with the organisers and the British Pyrotechnic Association to limit the plastic components this year, and we are hopeful that this will also result in less plastic debris than previous years.

“If it can be done here it can be done all over the world…so Plymouth is leading the way again.”

Jim Winship, Director, The Event Services Association, said: “We fully support Plymouth City Council’s actions to eliminate plastics wherever possible and have banned the use of materials in the competition, except where they have no alternatives on safety issues. In the future we would love to able to eliminate plastics altogether.”

Oleta Forde from Plymouth Beach Clean Volunteers said: “We are pleased that work is being done to reduce plastics in the British Fireworks Championships this year and we hope this will help reduce pollution. We have also organised some beach cleans after the event so please do get involved if you want to volunteer.”

Measures will also include:

  • A detailed audit of the displays will take place before the competition moving forward, and plastic components that aren’t necessary have now been banned.
  • Single use plastics are also being reduced on Plymouth Hoe, the main viewing point for the displays. There will be no plastic cutlery or straws available and soft drinks will be sold in cans (though water will be bottled).
  • Drinks from the bar will be served in recyclable plastic cups, which are made with 50 per cent recycled plastic.
  • Public recycling bins will be available on the Hoe Promenade and visitors will be asked to recycle as much as they possibly can and use the appropriate bins for rubbish.
  • Anyone watching from Plymouth Hoe can also bring their own reusable water bottles and fill them from the free refill points in front of the Navy War Memorial.

How you can help

Visitors who watch the fireworks from other viewpoints around the city are asked to be considerate of the environment and take their rubbish home with them if there are no bins available.

Plymouth Beach Clean Volunteers have organised two beach cleans following the fireworks which anyone is welcome to attend, though if you’re under 18 you must be accompanied by an adult. Equipment will be provided.

Thursday 15 August 12pm on the Hoe Waterfront (meeting point on the path opposite the Dome and above the Lido)

Friday 16 August 30 pm at Mount Batten Beach (meeting point at the bottom of the stairs)

Find out more about beach cleans.

Find out more about the British Firework Championships

For more information about the British Firework Championships, including transport information, please see

Surfers Against Sewage have awarded Plymouth the Plastic Free City status, the largest UK city to achieve the accolade.