Accept Cookies on this site

Bournemouth Borough Council would like to place cookies on your computer to help us make this website better. To find out more about the cookies, see our privacy notice.

Home / Business / Trading Standards / Explosives Licence

Explosives Licence

The Explosives Act 1875 permits the storage of a limited quantity of fireworks/ explosives (5kg) for an unlimited period of time, or the storage of an unlimited quantity of fireworks for up to 14 days prior to their use.


It is generally taken that these provisions apply to 'private use', ie for use by the keeper or associates (eg. for a school bonfire) but not for sale. It also applies where local operators are storing fireworks prior to them firing a professional display.

Where a greater quantity of explosives is being stored, the premises needs to be registered with their local authority.

The Council registers premises (mainly retailers) for the keeping of fireworks, safety cartridges and/or mixed explosives. Registration runs annually from 1st April.

Different parts of explosives/firework law are enforced by various bodies:

  • the Department of Trade and Industry
  • the Fire Brigade
  • the Health and Safety Executive (or their agents)
  • local Authority Trading Standards Departments
  • the Police


The premises must be registered with the Council in the name of the occupier, either for 'Gunpowder' or 'Mixed Explosives', and the registration must be renewed annually. 

Storage of ExplosivesWhere the premises registered for the keeping of explosives is a shop or other similar dwelling, the explosives shall be kept in Mode B ie. in a substantial receptacle, closed and secured so as to prevent access to unauthorised persons. This container must be exclusively appropriated to keeping explosives. The maximum quantity to be kept on such premises must not be more than 25kg. Please contact your local Trading Standards Department for further information.


Storage of Fireworks

Generally, storage of fireworks for retail sale would be in a Mode B store, for which the following applies:

  • the maximum amount of fireworks that can be kept in a room where the public might go is 50kg. You can keep fireworks in glass showcases, metal containers, wooden boxes, cupboards or drawers, but these must be locked shut or positioned so that no unauthorised person can reach them. You must not put glass showcases containing fireworks in your shop window.
  • a quantity of fireworks over that 50kg limit (up to a further 200kg) can be stored elsewhere in the building, but must be kept in closed metal containers. Each container must hold not more than 50kg.
  • any container being used for storing fireworks must not contain other items. You must keep anything flammable (or likely to cause a fire or explosion) a safe distance away from any fireworks.


There are two modes:

  • Mode A- requires a safe and secure building or room, not attached to a dwelling and used only for storing fireworks, up to a maximum weight of 1000kg. Please contact your local Trading Standards for further information if you wish to apply for a Mode A store.
  • Mode B- allows the storage of up to 250kg of fireworks in a building which is also used for other purposes (such as a shop), with strict regulations about how the fireworks are contained.

Exposure of Fireworks for Sale

All due precautions must be taken to prevent accidents by fire or explosion. Fireworks must not be kept dangerously near to oils, paints, matches or any other article of a highly inflammable or explosive nature, and must not be kept in shop windows or on open shelves and counters. Empty boxes and dummy fireworks can be used for show purposes.


Sale to Children

It is illegal to sell fireworks to any person apparently under the age of eighteen years.



Whenever an accident occurs by explosion or fire in registered premises, causing loss of life or personal injury, the occupier of the premises must notify the Health and Safety Executive|.


Inspection of Registered Premises

The occupier of registered premises must allow any authorised officer of the Council to inspect the place and receptacles where explosives are kept. 

Application for a yearly licence.| 

Application for more than 75kg|.

Application for less than 75kg.| 


Useful Links

Health and Safety Executive (HSE)|

Department of Trade and Industry (DTi)|

UK Firework Safety|

Explosive Industry Group|

Related Information


Postal Address Bournemouth Trading Standards,
Town Hall, St Stephen's Road, Bournemouth, Dorset
Telephone 01202 451400
Fax 01202 451011
Email Trading Standards
image of a sunLike|