RoSPA Safer Fireworks

Licensing & Legislation

Northern Ireland - Explanatory Notes

The Explosives (Fireworks) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2002. Application to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for a licence to purchase, possess and use Category 2 (Garden) fireworks.

Please read these notes carefully

  • A licence is not required if you want to purchase, possess and use fireworks classified under category 1(suitable for indoor use) of British Standard BS 7114:1988 or sparklers classified under category 2 of British Standard BS 7114:1988 You must have a licence before you can purchase, possess and use any other type of fireworks - that is, those classified under categories 2, 3 or 4 of BS 7114:1988 or its European equivalent.
  • The applicant is the person purchasing, possessing and using the fireworks.
  • The licence is only valid for the date stated on it (unless otherwise agreed with this office).
  • We will not normally licence fireworks to be used between 11pm and 7am.
  • A licence for a display that is being held at a location other than your own private address will identify the firer of the fireworks (the person who must use the fireworks) and the person responsible for safety before, during and after the display - the same person may perform one or more of these roles. You must also provide a site plan. Guidance on the preparation of one is available from The site map asks you to indicate the position of stewards. Two stewards should be provided for the first 50 spectators, plus an extra steward for every additional 250 spectators. The stewards should be briefed to carry out their duties effectively prior to the event.
  • You may only purchase, possess and use the fireworks on schedule 1 of your licence (i.e. those fireworks listed at section 4 of your application form). Your fireworks retailer can help you complete this. If you wish to purchase a boxed selection of fireworks the name of the manufacturer and the name of the boxed selection must be stated. In all other cases the manufacturer and type of firework must be stated. The type of fireworks should be: Fountain; Roman Candle; Mine; wheel; Rocket; Combination, etc.
  • The application should be submitted to us in sufficient time to allow the licence to be processed. The process can take up to 3 weeks, particularly at Halloween, and delay in submitting your application could result in a licence not being issued. We operate a cut-off date for processing and accepting applications at Halloween - please contact us for further information about this.

Payment of the licence feeClick here to return to the top of the page

Payment can be made by cheque or postal order and should be sent to this office with your application form. (If it is inconvenient for you to pay this way please telephone this office and we will send you a bank giro invoice. DO NOT SEND CASH).

Where the attendance of any persons at a fireworks display will be:

  • Up to 100 persons, the fee is £30
  • More than 100 but fewer than 1000 persons, the fee is £80
  • More than 1000 persons, the fee is £160.

Please make your cheque / postal order payable to: Department of Justice, No.1 Account and write the applicant’s name and address clearly on the back of it. Please do not fold, staple or post date cheques.

Important note

The Department of Justice will not issue a licence if, for any reason, it considers it inappropriate to do so, for example on grounds of health and safety. In such circumstances, the fee for the processing of the licence will not be refunded. Neither is the fee refundable if you withdraw your application within 10 days of the date of the proposed fireworks display.


If you have any questions about your application or licence, please contact us:

Firearms and Explosives Branch
Block A, Castle Buildings
Stormont Estate

Tel: 028 9052 0057 / 028 9052 3150
Fax: 028 9052 0194

Safety at fireworks display

The Health and Safety Executive has published a booklet giving advice about recommended safety procedures at fireworks displays entitled “Giving your own Fireworks Display” (HS(G)124). It is aimed specifically at those persons or organisations who plan to run their own fireworks display and have no specialist knowledge. Examples of this type of display would be those run by sports clubs, school parent/teacher associations, church or voluntary organisations.

The guide gives advice on such matters as selecting a suitable site; spectator safety; firing the fireworks; and what you do if something goes wrong.

A copy of the guide may be purchased from HSE Books, PO Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 6FS, tel: 01787 881165, ordered online at or may be available for reference at your local library. We strongly recommend that you follow the guidance and advice contained in the booklet.

Firework safety

  • Read the instructions on each individual firework well before your display so that you know how to use them.
  • Have a bucket of water handy in case of an emergency.
  • Have a torch so that you can read the instructions on the fireworks.
  • Light fireworks at arm’s length, using a taper or portfire.
  • Follow the Firework Safety Code; this means that you should for example:
  • Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114, and only from a registered retailer.
  • Do not drink alcohol when letting off fireworks.
  • Never go near a firework that has been lit. Even if it has not gone off, it could still explode.
  • Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them.
  • Always supervise children around fireworks and keep pets indoors.

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