Explosives & Fireworks Licences

Manufacture and storage of explosives

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The Explosives Regulations 2014 came into effect on 1 October 2014

Copies of the published regulations are available from the Legislation office. Guidance to the regulations is available from HSE Books and from other booksellers.


Fireworks can be enjoyable provided they are stored and used safely and responsibly. HSE and local authorities (usually Trading Standards Officers) enforce firework legislation to protect consumers and the general public.

Firework Safety
Image of Firework Be Safe posterPlease follow these links for general guidance on firework safety:

Explosives - new Regulations

The new Explosives Regulations 2014 came into effect on 1 October 2014.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has been working with stakeholders since 2010 to review existing health and safety related explosives legislation. One of the key aims of that has been to consolidate, modernise and where practicle, simply the legislation arrangements.

Explosives Regulations 2014

The Explosives regulations 2014 consoldates and therefore revokes a number of existig explosives regulations. It brings together the requirements of health and safety related explosives legislation into a framwork based around common topics such as:

  • authorisation
  • safety
  • security
  • and placing on the market.

Aspects such as safe storage and separation distances will be enforced by Trading Standards.

The main changes to the regulatory framework include:

  • Merging registrations into the licensing system
  • Allowing local authorities to issue licences up to 5 years, aligning them with equivalent HSE/police-issued licences
  • Extending licensing to address storage of ammonium nitrate blasting intermediate (ANBI)
  • Exceptions for keeping higher hazard and desensitised explosives without a licence have been updated
  • Tables of separation distances have been restructured to better allow for sites with more than one store. The tables have also been revised to cover quantities of explosives greater than 2000kg
  • A revised list of explosives that can be acquired or acquired and kept without an explosives certificate from the police
  • The repeal of the Fireworks Act 1951, as its remaining provisions have been superseded by the Pyrotechnic (Safety) Regulations 2010.

The overarching guidance consists of two documents:

  • L150 focuses on safety provisions
  • L151 covers security provisions

aimed at the more complex and larger operations, contain overarching technical guidance and background information that will help dutyholders to comply with the safety and security provisions in the regulations. They are structured around the fundamental objectives, described as 'statements of success', that all duty holders in the industry should achieve in a manner that is proportionate to their business and will also identify detailed specialist and topic based guidance.

Manufacture and storage of explosives - licensing requirements

If you want to store up to 2000kg of explosives you will need a licence from your local licensing authority. If you are within the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, then it will be the Trading Standards Service. The appropriate form is below to download, complete and print.

Where to apply
This will depend on the quantity and type of explosive you want to store and where you live.

  • If you manufacture explosives you will need a licence from HSE
  • If you wish to store two tonnes or more of explosive you will need a licence from HSE
  • If you wish to store up to two tonnes of an explosive that requires an explosives certificate (eg blasting explosive or black powder) you will need a licence or registration from your local police
  • If you live in the metropolitan counties, ie West Midlands, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Tyne and Wear, or South, and West Yorkshire you will need to apply to the fire and rescue service
  • In other areas you will normally need to contact the trading standards department of your local authority. If you are within the RBWM then it is us, so please use the contact us. If you need to find your local Trading Standards then please see the Trading Standards SE Authorities webpage.

How to make an application
The licence application form is available in pdf format below.

The amount of information needed for the application will depend on the type of licence. For most licences the licensing authority will need to know:

  • the name of the applicant;
  • nature of the business;
  • where you plan to keep the explosives;
    the type(s) and quantities of explosives to be kept
  • storage location
  • More extensive information will be required for applications to HSE for a licence for manufacturing or a larger store, where the licence will be subject to local authority assent.

Fees for applications
A fee will be payable before the licensing authority will consider an application. Information on current fee levels can be found below.

The process for considering licence applications
The licensing authority will normally wish to visit the proposed store. In most cases where HSE is the licensing authority, once HSE has approved the application, the applicant will then need to ask the local authority for its assent before HSE can grant the licence.

Licence document

The licensing authority will issue a certificate which will in most cases set out:

  • the name and address of the licensee/registered person
  • the address of the store
  • the amount and type of explosive that may be kept there

HSE licences may include more detailed information on, for example:

  • the layout of the site
  • construction of the buildings
  • the use of the buildings (some buildings may be used for storage only, and some for manufacturing only).

Fees for licences granted by local licensing authorities

Fees effective from 1 October 2014

Period New Renewal
One year £105 £52
Two years £136 £83
Three years £166 £115
Four years £198 £146
Five years £229 £178

Licence variation (amending name of licensee or address of site) - £35
Licence variation (other) - Resonable cost of the work done by the licensing authority
Tansfer of licence or replacement licence document - £35

Please note that the time-limited fees given above are for whole years. Fees for parts of a year would be on a pro-rata basis. For example:

  • the fee for a new local authority storage licence for 9 months would be £78.75 (three quarters of the annual fee of £105)

These fees above are accurate until October 2015 only.

No VAT is payable on these fees.

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Explosives storage licence application

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Modified: 2014-10-01
Published: Mon, 29 Dec 2014 12:12:25
Author: Allison Helyer
Editor: Allison.Helyer
RDCMS ID: 19360