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Safe Fireworks Storage (UK)

Safe Fireworks Storage (UK)

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  Fireworks Regulations & Laws

Your consumer fireworks will be classed for transport as either 1.4G (0336) or 1.3G (0335) by the UN.  Fireworks supplied in their own individual boxes (referred to as “cartons” in the trade) will have an orange hazard diamond on the side to indicate their classification. For loose items, consult your retailer.

The storage laws are governed by the Explosive Regulations 2014 (which replaced MSER: Manufacture and Storage of Explosives Regulations 2005) which determine the legal limits for Hazard Type 3 (HT3) and Hazard Type 4 (HT4) items. Generally speaking it is safe to assume that 1.4G fireworks are Hazard Type 4 and 1.3G fireworks are Hazard Type 3. This is the assumption used for the remainder of this article however you must consult your fireworks supplier for confirmation of the exact hazard types of the fireworks you are buying.

All storage quantities relate to the Net Explosive Content, or NEC of the firework. This is not the same as the firework’s gross weight. For example, a firework may weigh 5kg but the actual NEC may only be 0.5kg. Your supplier should be able to tell you what the NEC of your fireworks is. If not, it can be estimated to be around one quarter of the firework’s total weight as a worst case scenario to work from. All new products tested to comply with EN15947 and which are CE marked will have the NEC shown on the warning label.

In short, the limits for storing fireworks at home without registration are:

Hazard Type 4 (usually 1.4G):

  • Up to 5kg NEC – store for an unlimited time
  • Up to 50kg NEC – store for up to 21 consecutive days provided they are not for sale or use at work
  • Up to 250kg NEC – store for up to 5 consecutive days and in their place of intended use
  • Any amount for up to 24 hours
Although these weights might not sound very much, remember they refer to the explosive content of the fireworks and not their gross (overall) weight. A huge 10Kg barrage for example might contain less than 1Kg of explosive. Taking this into account, these limits are actually quite liberal for HT4 fireworks.

Hazard Type 3 (usually 1.3G):

  • Up to 5kg NEC – store for an unlimited time
  • Up to 100kg NEC – store for up to 5 consecutive days and in their place of intended use
  • Any amount for up to 24 hours

As you can see the limits for HT3 fireworks are considerably more restrictive.

Note: Where there is a mix of HT4 and HT3 fireworks they are treated as if they were all HT3. In practical terms this means if 99% of your fireworks are labelled as 1.4G and you have a single 1.3G firework then legally all of your fireworks would be viewed for the purposes of storage as 1.3G and therefore the limits for HT3 could apply.

Those of you who have stored fireworks before 2014 under the MSER guidelines will also note the terms “place of intended use” and “not for sale or use at work” which are applicable on some of the above. In everyday terms, the place of intended use covers you for buying fireworks to store at home for your home display, or to buy and store them where your display is taking place. Not for sale or use at work basically means non-commercial use. If you are buying fireworks to sell or you are displaying for money (providing a commercial service) then you will have to look into registration and licensing. A storage licence allows you to store fireworks all year and to sell during key periods only.

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