Residents of Chelmsford are being asked to be mindful of others this firework night by visiting public displays where possible and having home fireworks at the same time of night if they can.  

This is part of Chelmsford City Council’s annual Rocket O’Clock campaign that emphasises a community effort to keep the city’s firework noise levels to a minimum for the benefit of everyone.

When is Rocket O’Clock? 

Chelmsford City Council’s Rocket O’Clock campaign asks people of Chelmsford to be considerate this year and either visit a public display or, if they must have a firework display at home, to stick to 7.30-8.30pm on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 November 2022. This timeframe aims to limit the window when loud bangs and bright flashes will take place for the benefit of people and animals who find fireworks difficult.  

Fireworks can cause distress and difficulties 

Fireworks can be fun and enjoyable for many, but can cause distress and difficulties for others, such as:  

  • pets 
  • people with conditions like PTSD, autism, and anxiety 
  • people who rely on assistance dogs 
  • very young children and their parents/carers
  • shift workers 
  • wildlife 
  • livestock and farmers 

To help protect these groups, you can also buy silent or quiet fireworks. These still have the colours and effects of ‘regular’ fireworks but are designed to cause far less noise. 

Rocket O’Clock isn’t a legal requirement – it’s a request to please be mindful of others. Whilst many people enjoy the bright colours, pops, bangs and whizzes of fireworks night, others find this a traumatizing and upsetting event, including livestock, wildlife, pets and vulnerable people.  
Realistically, we know we can’t stop people releasing fireworks from their gardens; the law permits home displays, and many people are responsible, releasing them early in the evening and giving plenty of notice to their neighbours.  
However, we do ask that people attend public displays where they can, and we encourage fireworks to be released in specific windows of time – “Rocket O’Clock” – to keep disturbance to a minimum.  

Thank you to everyone who’s supporting our campaign this year

Councillor Rose Moore, Cabinet Member for Greener and Safer Chelmsford

What the experts say

The National Autistic Society’s website says, “For some autistic people, the unexpected nature of displays can cause anxiety and stress, and for those with sensory issues, fireworks can be very distressing.” 

As PTSD UK say, “An assault survivor may be startled and frightened by the sudden bang of fireworks, the explosive sounds, flashes of light and smell of gunpowder may trigger unwelcome memories for some veterans, or a person with PTSD from a natural disaster may mistakenly interpret the fireworks as the sound of another natural disaster… having advance knowledge of a fireworks display near to them can help them to better prepare and cope with any symptoms they may experience.” 

The RSPCA’s long-running #BangOutOfOrder campaign tells us that “While the bright colours, flashing lights and snap, crackle and pops are entertaining for humans – these result in huge fear, distress and fatal injuries for all kinds of animals.” 

Public displays in the area 

Here is a list of some of the main displays taking place in Chelmsford. You can visit each website below for more information: 

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