Explosives and fireworks licences


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In addition to the advice below we have an online training course entitled ‘Storing and Selling Fireworks Safely and Legally‘. This short course outlines some of the things you need to know about storing and selling fireworks, including the hazards you need to be aware of. The course cost is £15 + VAT. This and a range of other subjects (including ‘Prevention of Underage Sales’) are available from our Business Support & Advice Partnership (BAASP) website.

1. Licence for storing explosives

If you wish to store more than 5kg (net mass) of explosives, including fireworks, you need a licence.

This licence is granted to a person, or company, for the premises at which the explosives are stored.

There are four hazard types of explosives – 1 is the most hazardous and 4 is the least hazardous. The majority of retail fireworks are classed as Hazard Type 4. The net mass of a firework is based on the explosive content less the packaging. Hazard type and net mass will be provided on manufacturer’s or supplier’s information. However, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are storing safely and in accordance with our guidance on Storing Explosives and Selling Fireworks.

The requirements for the licence depend on the hazard type, and quantity of explosives stored, and on the separation distances between public places, like buildings and roads.

Storage licence fees

There are two sets of fees depending on the quantity and hazard type you intend to store. Where new applications are unsuccessful, 50% of the application fee will be retained.

If you store no more than:

  • 250Kg Hazard Type 4
  • 25kg Hazard Type 3 (or any combination of Hazard Type 4 or 3)
  • 0.1kg Hazard Type 1 or 2.

The fees will be:

  • New application £109
  • Renewal £54

If you wish to store more than the above quantities the following fees apply:

  • New application £185
  • Renewal £86

Fireworks sales licence

If you intend to sell fireworks outside the restricted dates listed below, you will also need an all year round licence.

  • 15 October to 10 November
  • 26 December to 31 December
  • On the 1st day of the Chinese New Year and the 3 days immediately preceding it
  • On the day of Diwali and the 3 days immediately preceding it

Application form

Before submitting your application, please make sure you have:

  • read the guidance on the application form (pages 5 and 6 in particular)
  • read our guidance on Storing Explosives and Selling Fireworks
  • enclosed the correct fee (cheques made payable to East Sussex County Council, payment can also be made by card)
  • enclosed a floor or site plan.

Please note that you must allow a minimum of 8 weeks for a new application to be processed.

Storing more than 2,000kg of explosives, or in mines and harbour areas

You must apply for a licence from the Health and Safety Executive if you:

  • store more than 2,000kg of explosives, or
  • store explosives at mines or harbour areas.

Explosives requiring a licence from the police

You must apply for a licence from the police if you store:

  • smokeless powder
  • blasting explosives
  • black powder
  • anything else requiring an explosives certificate.

If you are storing these explosives in East Sussex or West Sussex, you should contact Sussex Police. For more information, telephone 101 ext 544086, or email firearms.licensing@sussex.pnn.police.uk.

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