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Licence to store/sell explosives

Premises storing explosives (for example, fireworks and flares, air bag inflators) are required to hold a storage licence.

This also allows fireworks to be sold during the four seasonal occasions:

  • 15 October to 10 November inclusive
  • 26 December to 31 December inclusive
  • on the 1st day of the Chinese New Year and the 3 days immediately preceding it
  • on the day of Diwali and the 3 days immediately preceding it

To sell fireworks all year round a further £500 fireworks suppliers licence is required.

In Wiltshire, the Public Protection Service is responsible for enforcing regulations on consumer safety and age of purchase. These areas are covered by the Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2010 and the Fireworks Regulations 2004. See also 'Age-restricted products'.

Fireworks sold by retailers are generally the types of less powerful fireworks known as hazard type 4 (Hazprod code 1.4G). A licence for storage of up to 250Kg (NEQ) of type 4 is required.

More powerful fireworks used by professional display organisers are known as hazard type 3 (Hazprod code 1.3G). If any of these are stored together with the less powerful type 4 then the maximum quantity of both type of explosives that can be stored is reduced to 100Kg (NEQ).  A licence for storage of over 250kg but less that 2000kg is required.

For quantities, greater than 2000Kg (NEQ) an application must be made to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)


Only fireworks that comply with European safety standards, carry the CE mark and are correctly labelled with details of the manufacturer and importer can legally be supplied to consumers.
Fireworks that were manufactured or imported before 4 July 2010 and that complied with British
Standard BS 7114 can continue to be sold without the CE mark until 4 July 2017. Boxes of fireworks must not be split and sold separately.
Any firework that exceeds 120 decibels must not be supplied to consumers.
Also banned are fireworks of the following description:
an aerial wheel
• a banger, flash banger or double banger
• a jumping cracker
• a jumping ground spinner
• a spinner
• a mini rocket
• a shot tube previously known as an air bomb or shell-in-mortar
• a battery containing bangers, flash bangers or double bangers
• a combination (other than a wheel) which includes one or more bangers, flash bangers or double bangers


The Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2010 prohibit the supply of category 2 (outdoor use - confined areas) and category 3 (outdoor use - large open areas) fireworks to any person under the age of 18. The Regulations prohibit the supply of category 1 (indoor use low hazard low noise - party poppers etc) fireworks to any person under the age of 16. An exception is made for Christmas crackers, which must not be supplied to any person under the age of 12. Caps for toy guns are exempt from fireworks legislation.

Note that the labelling on packets of sparklers must carry the words 'Warning: not to be given to children under 5 years of age'.

Where adult fireworks are supplied or exposed for supply in any premises, the Fireworks Regulations 2004 require a notice to be displayed in a prominent position in those premises, no less than 420mm by 297mm (A3), with letters no less than 16mm high, giving the following information:

  • It is illegal to sell adult fireworks or sparklers to anyone under the age of 18
  • It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to possess adult fireworks in a public place

Age-restricted sales - keeping within the law

The law has defences available, namely that the person accused took all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence to avoid committing an offence. It is your responsibility to keep within the law and to have systems in place that will act as a 'due diligence' defence to an allegation that a sale has taken place to a person under the minimum legal age.
Offences are of strict liability, which means that they can occur even when the business owner is not on the premises. To avoid committing an offence, it is advised that the legislation is brought to the attention of all staff via regular training. It is important that you can prove that your staff have understood what is required of them under the legislation. This can be done by keeping a record of the training and asking the member of staff to sign to say that they have understood it. These records should then be checked and signed on a regular basis by the manager or the owner.
Members of staff should be advised that they themselves might be personally liable if they sell to young persons in breach of the legal requirements.
Always ask young people to produce proof of their age. Trading standards services and the government support the national Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS). You can be confident that a card issued under the scheme and bearing the PASS hologram is an acceptable proof of age. There are a number of card issuers in the scheme.

Photo driving licences and passports are also acceptable as proof od age.

If there is doubt, the sale should not take place.


It is an offence under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 to sell fireworks by retail without a licence or to store unsafely. The penalty is a fine of up to £20,000 and/or 12 months' imprisonment.
The penalty for committing an offence of supplying a category 2 or 3 firework to any person under
18 years, supplying a category 1 firework to any person under 16 years, or supplying a Christmas cracker to any person under 12 years, is a fine of up to £5,000 and up to six months' imprisonment.


Application forms

Download, complete and return the relevant application forms together with the fees.

Only persons with "fixed" premises can be registered or licensed, so fireworks cannot be sold at market stalls, car boot sales or other temporary sales points.

Explosives licences

All fees include VAT and are subject to amendment by parliamentary regulations.

2018 - 2019

Storage over 250kg but less than 2000kg


Renewal of licence (Over 250kg but less than 2000kg)


Licence to store explosives up to 250kg


Renewal of licence (Up to 250kg)


Replacement of licence if lost


Supply of adult fireworks



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Last updated: 12 April 2018 | Last reviewed: 12 April 2018