The Office of Fair Trading takes its role in ensuring the safety of retail goods and the protection of young people from the dangers of such goods very seriously.
To ensure public safety all retail premises where fireworks are stored have to be licenced by the Office. Strict conditions are placed on the licence with regards to the types of containers used for storage and maintenance of the fire fighting equipment. More information on the storage of fireworks in retail premises and the conditions placed on licences can be obtained from the Office.
The Office also enforces the law on the prevention of the sale of banned fireworks to consumers - fireworks whose construction does not meet safety standards (mainly imported from abroad) or those which are intended for professional displays and must not be sold to the public.
A licensing and visiting program ensures that necessary safe storage facilities are in place on retail premises and that no banned fireworks are on sale or that boxes of fireworks are not being split.
Although the Office has no responsibility in law for ensuring the safe use of fireworks it works with other agencies such as the Police and Fire Service to promote the safety message.
Each year the Office and its partners support the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills' Fireworks Safety Campaign. The joint agencies ensure that media campaigns are put in place to promote the safe use of fireworks. A further source of information can be found at www.fireworksafety.co.uk.
The Office’s advice to consumers is to only buy from local retailers and to check that all fireworks they buy are marked with the British Standard (BS) 7114. As it is an offence for retailers to split boxes of fireworks consumers are also asked to report the matter to the Office if they are offered fireworks from split boxes.
The Department of Home Affairs is responsible for administering the Fireworks Act 2004 which specifies the dates when fireworks can be set off.
Please note that the sale of fireworks is subject to age restrictions.
An application form for a licence to store fireworks (explosives) can be found at our Business Publications & Information Centre. A retailers guide to selling fireworks can also be found at our Business Publications & Information Centre.