Storing explosives (including fireworks)

In general, storage of a considerable amount of explosives other than for short periods of time will require a licence under the Explosives Regulations 2014.


For the purposes of the regulations, all references to amount of explosive are in terms of the net mass of explosive. In simple terms, this means the quantity of explosive substance present not including any casings, other content and packaging.

We can licence storage of up to 2,000kg of 'other explosives' (including fireworks and small arms ammunition) none of which requires an explosives certificate and where any separation distances can be met. Separation distances dictate how far away the store must be from dwellings, roads, footpaths and railways and vary with the amount and type of explosives stored. For larger quantities, licences are issued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The quantities typically kept when storing fireworks for retail sale require a storage licence under the 2014 Regulations.

Contact us if you intend to store other types of explosive or - having referred to the information on this page - you are unsure of licensing requirements.

In order to obtain a licence you will need to know:

  • the hazard type(s) of the explosive
  • the total amount of explosive being kept
  • whether your storage arrangements satisfy any separation distances required to be maintained.

Explosives are categorized by hazard type (HT), ranging from hazard type 1 to hazard type 4 (HT1 being the most powerful). Adult fireworks are usually classified as HT4 but some are more powerful and classed HT3.

Normally, explosives packaging will be marked with the type and net mass of explosive. For fireworks only, unless marked on the packaging, their net mass is assumed to be one quarter (25%) of the total weight.

It is important to be aware that where explosives of different hazard types are present, the total amount of explosive is classified in the higher category. For example, 20kg HT3 with 200kg HT4 is classified as 220kg HT3.

You should note that your premises must be suitable for the amount of explosives you wish to store. The quantity you can store safely will be affected by:

  • type and nature of the store
  • ability to make appropriate storage arrangement
  • fire safety facilities; particularly where the premises adjoin dwelling accommodation
  • location of store in relation to any separation distances required.

Separation distances are not normally required to be maintained if the explosive stored is no more than:

  • 250kg HT4
  • 25kg HT3 (or combination of HT3 and HT4).

Applying for a storage licence under the Explosives Regulations 2014

There is a standard application for a storage licence which you can download from the related documents section of this page.

Please read all the guidance for applicants supplied with the form.

Licenses can be granted for up to five years and renewed for up to five years at our discretion.

To simplify administration, we have a common renewal date of 1 October annually.

The fees for explosive licences (opens in a new window) are available from the HSE.

Send your fully completed application form together with a cheque for the appropriate fee (made payable to Derbyshire County Council) to:

Explosive Applications
Derbyshire Trading Standards Service
Chatsworth Hall
Chesterfield Road
Matlock
Derbyshire DE4 3FW

Your application will be considered and, if approved, a licence will be issued.

We can refuse to issue explosives storage licences (or revoke them once issued) if we have reason to consider that a person is not fit to hold a licence, or if the storage arrangements are unsuitable.

More information about explosives licensing (opens in a new window) can be found on the HSE website.

The HSE has guidance on storing fireworks safely (opens in a new window).

Selling fireworks

You must not supply adult (class F2 and F3) fireworks to anyone under the age of 18. If you do, you could face an unlimited fine and/or imprisonment for up to three months.

You are required to display a statutory notice explaining this restriction to customers.

You can only supply fireworks at certain times of the year, unless you have an annual licence to sell fireworks. This annual licence is in addition to a licence to store explosives.

The permitted sales periods are:

  • 15 October to 10 November
  • 26 December to 31 December
  • The first day of Chinese New Year and the three days preceding it
  • On the day of Diwali and the three days preceding it.

It is an offence to sell fireworks outside these periods unless you have a licence.

If you do want to supply fireworks at any other time, you will need to apply for a separate Annual Firework Sales Licence, issued under the Fireworks Regulations 2004, for which the annual fee is £500.

An application form for an annual sales licence can be downloaded from this page.

Further guidance on storing and selling fireworks (opens in a new window).

Further information

Please be aware that the information provided here is only a brief summary of the laws relating to explosive storage and firework sales.

Contact us for more information if you need to discuss particular circumstances not covered.

Related documents

The following documents are in Portable Document Format (PDF). You can download software to view PDF documents for free from the Adobe website (opens in a new window)

Also on our website