Fire officers in Tyne and Wear are warning retailers selling fireworks to ensure they have a current licence for selling and storing explosives as we approach the bonfire period.
The warning comes after fire officers seized (approximately 40kg/a significant amount of fireworks) following an inspection of a shop in Newcastle on Tuesday 15 October. The shop owner did not have a current licence or registration to store or sell them.
Legislation states that in order to sell fireworks shop owners must be ‘registered’ or ‘licenced’ dependent on the storage quantity. A fireworks registration allows a retailer to store up to 250kg of net explosive content contained in the fireworks and, permits them to sell them at certain times of the year. A licence will allow a retailer to store up to 2,000kg. Registrations and licences can be applied for from the fire and rescue service. A separate licence is required if retailers would like to sell all year around.
Fireworks are a type of explosive and need to be carefully managed and licensed; should they become involved in fire within a building, there is the potential for a small fire becoming a large incident very quickly.
Assistant Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said: "We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable bonfire period. Fireworks are explosives and as such can be incredibly dangerous, causing death and injury. All shop owners who intend to store and sell fireworks must register or apply for a licence. Officers will carry out inspections before they are issued to ensure the premises are suitable. There are strict regulations in place limiting the quantity, type and storage of fireworks to ensure public safety."
"We would much rather work with local business owners to give them the information and support they need. However, if necessary we will prosecute where business owners are trading illegally. Failure to comply can result in a criminal prosecution, a fine of up to £5,000 and, or, a prison sentence of up to six months."
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service works closely with the Police and Local Authority Trading Standards in the enforcement of firework regulations.
In Newcastle, fire, police and local authority officers, and other agencies are working closely together as part of Safe Newcastle to ensure people in Newcastle have a safe and enjoyable Bonfire night.
Cllr Linda Hobson, portfolio holder for community safety and regulation for Newcastle City Council, said: “We cannot highlight the dangers of irresponsible use of fireworks enough. I am very encouraged by the way the authorities are working together to ensure that the bonfire period is safe and enjoyable for everyone. The public can help minimise dangers by only buying fireworks from legitimate and reputable retailers.”
If you have concerns over anyone selling fireworks, you can report this by phoning the Citizens Advice Consumer Service 08454 04 05 06.
For more information and advice on how to enjoy a safe Bonfire Night and the regulations about selling and storing fireworks visit www.facebook.com/twfrs (13 years+) www.twitter.com/tyne_wear_frs or www.twfire.gov.uk/bonfire