A shared service delivering Environmental Health, Licensing and Trading Standards across Bracknell Forest Council and West Berkshire Council

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Local authority licences

You need to apply for a lower tier licence if you wish to store a maximum of either:

  • 30 kg of Hazard Type 1 or 2 explosives or
  • 100 kg of Hazard Type 3 explosives or
  • 250 kg of Hazard Type 4 explosives.

The quantities allowed depend on individual locations (for example, separation distances from other buildings, footpaths). Most consumer fireworks, shotgun ammunition, marine distress flares and so on are Hazard Type 4 explosives. If you are in any doubt consult your supplier.

If you wish to store more than the above quantities, up to a maximum of 2000 kg of any Hazard Type, then you need to apply for an upper tier licence. However, if any of the explosives you wish to store require a Police Certificate under the Control of Explosives Regulations, you will have to apply to Thames Valley Police for a licence.

You need to apply to your local authority for lower and upper tier licences.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) licence

To store quantities in excess of 2000 kg of any Hazard Type you will have to apply to the HSE.

HSE - applying for a licence

How to apply

You can use the application for a storage licence under the explosives regulations form to apply for or renew a licence. 


The current fees for a new explosives licence and renewal of an explosives licence can be found on the fees and charges page

Licences to store may be granted for up to five years, please contact us before applying if you want a licence for more than one year.

Renewal applications must be received by 31 August, or the licence will be deemed to have expired, and you will be charged the full rate for a new licence.

Full details of fees can be found here. (see Part 2).

Risk assessments

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR) and the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) both require risk assessments to be undertaken. Therefore a risk assessment should be undertaken but you only need to record it if there are more than five people employed at the business. Some useful guidelines have been produced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).


Methods of storage are as follows:

  • an ISO freight container
  • a dedicated store room
  • a fully enclosed substantial (small gauge) wire mesh compound (and still in transit packaging)
  • a demarcated area for an amount not exceeding 75kg, in their sealed/resealed transport packaging (this is not appropriate for small shops) and
  • a substantial cupboard, cabinet, container or display case.

The containers fireworks are stored in must be clearly labelled as storing fireworks. If the fireworks are stored inside an ISO freight container the label should be an orange diamond with a black 4 (the 4 refers to the category). Category 4 is retail fireworks.


Manufacturing of fireworks includes their repair, modification, dismantling and so on. Anyone doing this requires a licence.

HSE - storing and selling fireworks

The Fireworks Regulations 2004. A notice must be displayed where fireworks are supplied or exposed for supply stating:

  • it is illegal to sell fireworks to anyone under the age of 18 and
  • it is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to possess fireworks in a public place.

When can you sell fireworks? Fireworks can only be sold:

  • 15 October to 10 November
  • 26 to 31 December and
  • 3 days prior to and including Diwali and the Chinese New Year.

A person storing in excess of 250 kg HT4 and 100 kg of HT3 will need a licence.

The law

The Explosives Acts 1875 and Manufacture and Storage of Explosives Regulations 2005 make it an offence not to comply with the following requirements. Any person who stores fireworks must take appropriate measures:

  • to prevent fire or explosion
  • to limit the extent of fire or explosion including measures to prevent the spreading of fires and the communication of explosions from one location to another and
  • to protect persons from the effects of fire or explosion.

Associated documents

West Berkshire