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Sale and Storage of Fireworks

Information relating to sale, storage and application for explosive licence.

Trading Standards licence West Lothian properties in which fireworks and other explosives are stored. Those properties are regularly inspected to ensure that the explosives are safely stored and are of minimal risk to persons, animals or property.

In addition to fireworks, relevant explosives include:

  • Marine distress pyrotechnics
  • Model rocket motors
  • Small arms ammunition
  • Airbag inflators
  • Seatbelt pretensioners

Storage of fireworks and safety advice

Fireworks should be handled with care. Advice and guidance on safe usage and storage of fireworks can be obtained by contacting Trading Standards who can provide specific advice. Guidance on complying with storage requirements can be obtained from the Health and Safety Executive, Fireworks Storage - HSE Guidance (opens new window).

Trading Standards also investigate complaints relating to the safety and sale of fireworks and monitor compliance with under age sales requirements. The purchase of fireworks is restricted to those 18 and over. 

Regulations mean that it is illegal to let off fireworks between 11pm and 6pm the following day. However, on Bonfire Night on 5th November, an extra hour is allowed and the use of fireworks must stop at midnight. On Hogmanay, Chinese New Year and Diwali the curfew is extended to 01:00 hours. Dispensations are permitted and further advice on this can be obtained from Licensing Services or by completing the online dispensation application form (opens new window).

New restrictions on the sale and use of fireworks, in Scotland, came into place on the 30th June 2021. These limit the time of day, to between 7am and 6pm, where fireworks can be sold / supplied, and the quantity is restricted to 5kg at any one time. The period where it is illegal to set off fireworks was also extended to 6pm, from 7am, meaning they can only be set off between 6pm and 11pm. The specific requirements are set out in The Fireworks (Scotland) Miscellaneous Amendments Regulations 2021 (opens new window). The Scottish Government has provided  information for retailers [229KB]  that sell fireworks.

Application and fees

The appropriate fee,  Sale and Storage of Fireworks fees [90KB] , must be paid when submitting the  Explosives Regulations Licence application form [240KB]   along with the relevant documentation, including area and floor plans. Incomplete forms, or missing supporting documentation may result in rejected applications or considerable delays in processing. Please be aware that licence fees are non-refundable and licences can be refused, so applicants must ensure the information they provide is complete and that they are in a position to demonstrate compliance with the storage requirements when applying.

Additional insurance measures may be required where storing fireworks. It is advisable that insurance providers are informed that hazardous materials are to be stored. You may wish to give consideration to taking out Public Liability Insurance.

Applicants for new storage sites should note the following:

  • Applicants will also be required to submit a completed fireworks storage and handling risk assessment before the application will be considered. An example risk assessment is available from the Health and Safety Executive (opens new window), which may be adapted to suit the site.
  • A site visit will be conducted as part of the application process. Please ensure  the relevant forms and documentation have been submitted in good time to facilitate this. Applications can take a number of weeks to process. A quick turnaround for late applications cannot be guaranteed.

The licensing period runs from 1st October to 30th September in any year.