Fireworks and Explosives

Explosives licensing and storage (including fireworks)

In most cases where an individual or business is acquiring, keeping, transferring, storing or manufacturing explosives, an explosives licence is required. Within Greater Manchester, we are responsible for the granting an explosive licence for amounts under 2,000Kgs NEC. 

A licence is a document that allows the holder to store and/or manufacture explosives. The holder of the licence is the person that makes sure that the conditions of that licence are being met. 

Licensing, Inspection, and enforcement activity are carried out by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) on behalf of Greater Manchester Combined Authority. 

Definitions of explosives and fireworks

Explosives (including fireworks, pyrotechnics and small arms ammunition) are fully defined in the Explosives Regulations 2014 (also known as ER14).

Fireworks are explosive articles with UN numbers 0333 to 0337 and are defined under the Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2015 as 'pyrotechnic articles for entertainment purposes'. 

Who needs a licence? 

If you are planning to store more than 5kg NEC (Net Explosive Content) and less than 2000kg NEC of explosives then you will need to apply for a storage licence from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS).

When can I sell fireworks?

You can only sell fireworks during the following periods, unless you hold a Firework All Year Round Selling Licence:

  • On the first day of the Chinese New Year and the three days immediately before it
  • On the day of Diwali and the three days immediately before it
  • During the period October 15 to November 10
  • During the period December 26 to December 31

If you wish to sell fireworks outside the above defined selling periods then you will need an ‘All Year Round’ selling licence in addition to the explosives storage licence. It is an offence under the Fireworks Regulations 2004 to sell outside these periods without a selling licence and you may be prosecuted.

To apply for an ‘All Year Round‘ selling licence you need to contact or telephone 0161 608 4040 and request an application form. The cost of the annual licence is £500.

Fireworks amnesty

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) is running a fireworks amnesty with the aim to drive down firework related accidents and keep Greater Manchester safe during the Bonfire period. The amnesty allows members of the public wishing to dispose of fireworks to do so safely by calling 0800 555 815 and a representative from GMFRS will collect and destroy them.

Further information