Fireworks are grouped under four main categories, and your responsibilities as a fireworks retailer differ depending on which types you are trading in.
Category F1 fireworks
Category F1 fireworks present a very low hazard and negligible noise level, and are intended for use in confined areas. This includes fireworks which are intended for use inside domestic buildings.
A fireworks licence is not required for the purchase, possession or use of category F1 fireworks (and category F2 sparklers). Remember, you must not sell sparklers unless the packet in which they are contained is marked with the words: "WARNING: not to be given to children under 5 years of age."
Category F2, F3 and F4 fireworks
Category F2 fireworks present a low hazard and low noise level, and are intended for outdoor use in confined areas. The sale, possession, purchase, or use of any fireworks of erratic flight or any mini-rocket, banger or air bomb in category F2 is prohibited.
Category F3 fireworks present a medium hazard – they are intended for outdoor use in large open areas, and noise levels are not harmful to human health.
Category F4 fireworks present a high hazard - they are intended for use only by persons with specialist knowledge (commonly known as fireworks for professional use) and noise levels are not harmful to human health. They must be labelled: "This device must not be sold to or used by a member of the general public” and may only be used by experienced pyrotechnicians.
Retail restrictions on category F2, F3 and F4 fireworks
You cannot sell category F2, F3 or F4 fireworks to anyone who does not hold a fireworks licence. The licence application form is only available from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the appropriate fee must be paid before the licence is issued - find more information on fireworks licences.
You must keep a permanent record of all category F2, F3, or F4 fireworks sold including:
- the name and address of the customer
- the date of each sale and the quantity and type of fireworks sold
- the customer’s firework licence number
These records must be retained for at least two years and must be available on demand for inspection by a Constable or representative from an enforcing authority on production of a warrant.
For more detailed advice on specific types of fireworks and their categories, you should contact the Department of Justice Firearms and Explosives Branch on Tel 028 9052 0760.
You may be fined up to £5,000 and/or imprisoned if you sell fireworks without permission from DOJ or breach conditions of your registration.