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Storing and Selling Fireworks

Fireworks are well-loved by the public but do not come without risks.  We want to help businesses who store and sell fireworks to stay safe and follow the law. There is a lot of technical information which you will need to understand so please take your time to read through this carefully.

Storage of explosives with a licence

A licence will be required prior to storing fireworks above a limited quantity, or if intended for sale, the licence will specify the type and quantity of fireworks that may be stored.      

For fireworks, and similar pyrotechnic articles, the Net Explosive Quantity (NEQ) of the Firework will be only a fraction of the gross weight of the item. 

The manufacturer/supplier will provide specific information which is usually marked on the transportation box or on the item itself, specifying the NEQ (weight of the explosive content of the item) and this information must be used when calculating the quantities of fireworks held, if the net explosive quantity is unclear, the supplier should be contacted. 

The maximum quantities of fireworks that may be kept under the licence, are the maximum quantities that may be present at that site at any one time. This includes explosives that are only temporarily present at the site – for example explosives being transferred from one vehicle to another.

Safety precautions when storing explosives

It is important that both retailers and enforcing authorities take account of the impact that the presence of the fireworks will have on the fire precautions for the premises. Whilst the introduction of fireworks into a building does not in itself increase the risk of an outbreak of fire; it does increase both the fire loading and the risk of rapid fire spread. Therefore the effectiveness of the control measures to:    

  • prevent fires and fire spread;         
  • detect and warn of fire; and
  • enable people to escape from the building  

must be evaluated against the quantity of fireworks (NEQ) stored and Hazard Type (HT) of the fireworks held in storage. The hazard type defines and describes the nature of the hazard arising from an explosive in manufacture and storage. 

Explosive Regulations 2014 – Safety Provisions (L150)

This publication provides overarching technical guidance that will help dutyholders to comply with the safety provisions in the Regulations. It also identifies detailed topic-based and specialist guidance and provides background information that supports subsector guidance published elsewhere.

This publication should be read alongside L151 The Explosives Regulations 2014 - Security provisions.

Enforcement Authorities

East Sussex County Council and Brighton & Hove City Council through their constitution are designated as the Enforcement Authorities under the Explosive Regulations 2014 for their respective geographical areas.

The Explosive Regulations 2014 came into force 1 October 2014 consolidating and revoking a number of previous explosives regulations. It has brought together the requirements of health and safety related explosives legislation into a framework based around common topics such as authorisation, safety, security and placing on the market.