Last updated:

5th July 2023

Fireworks and explosives

Local authority licences

You need to apply for a lower-tier licence if you wish to store a maximum of:

  • 30 kg of Hazard Type 1 or 2 explosives
  • 100 kg of Hazard Type 3 explosives
  • 250 kg of Hazard Type 4 explosives

The quantities allowed depend on individual locations (for example, separation distances from other buildings, footpaths). Most consumer fireworks, shotgun ammunition, marine distress flares and so on are Hazard Type 4 explosives. If you are in any doubt consult your supplier. 

If you wish to store more than the above quantities, up to a maximum of 2000 kg of any Hazard Type, then you need to apply for an upper-tier licence. However, if any of the explosives you wish to store require a Police Certificate under the Control of Explosives Regulations, you will have to apply to Thames Valley Police for a licence. 

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) licence 

To store quantities in excess of 2000 kg of any Hazard Type you will have to apply to the HSE.

How to apply

You can use the application for a storage licence under the explosives regulations form to apply for or renew a licence.  

Send your HSE application, with the fee, to

Risk assessments 

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR) and the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) both require risk assessments to be undertaken. Therefore, a risk assessment should be undertaken but you only need to record it if there are more than five people employed at the business. Some useful guidelines have been produced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).


You need to apply for a lower-tier licence if you wish to store a maximum of either:

  • An ISO freight container
  • A dedicated storeroom 
  • A fully enclosed substantial (small gauge) wire mesh compound (and still in transit packaging) 
  • A demarcated area for an amount not exceeding 75kg, in their sealed/resealed transport packaging (this is not appropriate for small shops)
  • A substantial cupboard, cabinet, container or display case

The containers fireworks are stored in must be clearly labelled as storing fireworks. If the fireworks are stored inside an ISO freight container the label should be an orange diamond with a black 4 (the 4 refers to the category). Category 4 is retail fireworks. 


Manufacturing of fireworks includes their repair, modification, dismantling and so on. Anyone doing this requires a licence. You can apply for a licence via  HSE - storing and selling fireworks.

The Fireworks Regulations 2004. A notice must be displayed where fireworks are supplied or exposed for supply stating:

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

Fireworks can only be sold during these time periods:

  • 15 October - 10 November 
  • 26 - 31 December
  • 3 days prior to and including Diwali and the Chinese New Year

A person storing in excess of 250 kg HT4 and 100 kg of HT3 will need a licence. 


Go to the fees and payments page to find out the cost.


The Explosives Acts 1875 and Manufacture and Storage of Explosives Regulations 2005 make it an offence not to comply with the following requirements. Any person who stores fireworks must take appropriate measures: 

  • To prevent a fire or explosion
  • To limit the extent of fire or explosion including measures to prevent the spreading of fires and the communication of explosions from one location to another
  • To protect persons from the effects of fire or explosion

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