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Home / Business / Trading Standards / Selling Explosives

Selling Explosives


The storage and sale of fireworks known as 'shop goods' from wholesale and retail premises is controlled by the Explosives Acts 1875 to 1976, the Fireworks Act 1951 and the Keeping of Fireworks Order 1959.

No person may store or sell fireworks unless the occupier of the premises has registered those premises with their Local Authority.


Registration of Premises for the Storage and Sale of Fireworks

Application for the registration of premises within Bournemouth Borough Council must be made to the Council.

There is an registration fee which must be paid at the time the application is made. View our current fees and charges|.  Where registration is granted that registration and any subsequent registration will expire on one year following the date of registration and must be renewed by that date if the premises are to continue to be used for the sale or storage of fireworks.


Storage of Fireworks

Fireworks may only be stored by prescribed methods known as Mode A or Mode B. The method of storage depends on the weight of the fireworks which includes the weight of the paper or card cases and any woodwork to which the cases are attached.

Mode A storage enables a maximum weight of 1,000 Kilograms of fireworks to be stored in a detached store constructed substantially of brick, stone iron, or concrete. Only fireworks may be kept in this store.

Mode B which is the usual method of storage for retail shops enables a maximum of 250 Kilograms to be stored.

Both methods of storage may be used, but the total weight of fireworks must not exceed 1,000 Kilograms.

Where Mode B is used the Following safety precautions must be observed:

  • no more than 50 Kilograms of fireworks may be kept in any room in which fireworks are sold or to which the public have access.
  • fireworks kept in any room to which the public have access must be kept in a substantial receptacle: a japanned or tinned iron or steel trunk or box, a wooden box, a cupboard a drawer or show case, and only fireworks may be kept in these receptacles.
  • any receptacle used for the storage or display of fireworks must be kept closed and either locked or positioned so as to prevent the public having direct access to the fireworks.
  • no fireworks may be displayed in a shop window or on any open shelf or counter.
  • where a suitable display cabinet is not available only dummy fireworks or empty boxes may be displayed.
  • stocks of fireworks over and above the 50 Kilograms permitted to be displayed in the shop must be kept in closed metal containers of substantial construction. These containers must be locked or secured to prevent access by any unauthorised person and must be clearly marked 'Fireworks - Highly Inflammable'. No other goods or substances may be stored in these containers.
  • storage containers and display cases must be sited away from any source of ignition such as a stove, fire, open light or similar source of ignition.
  • fireworks should not be stored next to substances such as oil, paint, matches or any other highly inflammable substance.
  • smoking must not be permitted in any area near to where fireworks are displayed or stored and 'No Smoking' signs must be displayed.
  • no person may smoke whilst handling or conveying fireworks.
  • all gangways, passageways and walkways leading to containers/display cases used for fireworks and all gangways, passageways and walkways leading to fire or emergency exits must be kept clear at all times.
  • water type fire extinguishers must be available at all times and all fire extinguishers must be properly maintained and a record of maintenance kept. In addition where there is any electrical hazard on the premises additional fire fighting equipment designed for use on electrical fires must be kept.
  • all fire fighting equipment must be readily accessible at all times.
  • if any accident by fire or explosion causing loss of life or personal injury occurs in or about the premises it must be reported by the quickest possible means (usually telephone) to the Council and to Her Majesty's Explosives Inspectorate, Magdalen House, Stanley Precinct Bootle, Merseyside L20 3Q2 0151- 951 4000.

Sale of Fireworks

Fireworks may not be sold to any person apparently under the age of 18 years.

Fireworks cannot be sold in the street or in any public place.

The name and address on any fireworks when received from the manufacturer must not be removed obliterated or altered.

Bengal matches are not fireworks and must not be kept with fireworks. Amorces (paper caps), throwdowns and sparklers are fireworks and must be sold and stored as such.

Vehicle Air Bag Detonators

If air bag detonators are stored (even for short periods when they are removed from vehicles for repair purposes) you must comply with the general requirements of Mode B storage. (See storage of fireworks).


Offences and Penalties

If explosives are kept on non-registered premises or if an offence is committed with respect to the quantity of explosives kept or the method of storage, the appropriate Court may impose, on conviction, a fine of £5,000, or more in some cases, and may order the explosives to be forfeited.

Where a person is found guilty of an offence connected with the safe storage of explosives the Courts may in some circumstances impose an unlimited fine or term of imprisonment.

A person found guilty of selling fireworks to a person apparently under the age of 18 years may on conviction be fined up to a maximum of £5,000.


Further Information

Copies of the legislation mentioned in this information sheet may be purchased from Her Majesty's Stationery Office.

A copy of the legislation relating to explosives(fireworks) can be inspected at the Council Offices where you may also obtain a registration form and further help and advice.


Application for a yearly licence|. 

Application for more than 75kg|.

Application for less than 75kg.| 

Related Information


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