Manufacture and storage of explosives
- The Explosives Regulations 2014 came into effect on 1 October 2014
Fireworks must be stored and used safely and responsibly. The Heath and Safety Executive (HSE) and local authorities enforce firework legislation to protect consumers and the general public.
Firework Safety: see the following websites for general guidance on firework safety:
- Safer fireworks - ROSPA (external link)
- British Pyrotechnists Association and CBI Explosives Industry Group (external link)
- Firework safety - Health and Safety Executive (external link)
New Regulations on Explosives
One of the key aims of this legislation is to consolidate, modernise and where practical simplify the legislation arrangements.
Explosives Regulations 2014
The Explosives Regulations 2014 consolidates and therefore revokes a number of existing explosives regulations. It brings together the requirements of health and safety related explosives legislation into one framework:
- and placing on the market.
The 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 accommodate for sites with more than one store. The tables have also been revised to cover quantities of explosives greater than 2,000kg
- A revised list of explosives that can be 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- The repeal of the Fireworks Act 1951, as its remaining provisions have been superseded by the Pyrotechnic (Safety) Regulations 2010.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:
These are aimed at the more complex and larger operations. They contain technical guidance and background information that will help duty holders to comply with the safety and security provisions in the regulations.
Manufacture and storage of explosives - licensing requirements
If you want to store up to 2,000kg of explosives you will need a licence from the licensing authority. The application form is available below.
Where to apply
This will depend on the quantity and type of explosive you want to store.
- If you manufacture explosives you will need a licence from the Health and Safety Executive (external link)
- If you wish to store two tonnes or more of explosive you will need a licence from the Health and Safety Executive (external link)
- If you wish to store up to two tonnes of an explosive that requires an explosives certificate (e.g. blasting explosive or black powder) you will need a licence or registration from your local police
- If you wish to store up to 2,000kg you will need a license from the local Council
How to make an application
The licence application form is available 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 consent.
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 the 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.
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
- Licence variation (amending name of licensee or site address): £35
- Licence variation (other) - Reasonable cost of the work done by the licensing authority
- Transfer 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)
Please note payment will be taken over the phone once the application has been accepted and a reference number will be allocated to you. We will contact you by phone to take payment - you will need a debit or credit card.
No VAT is payable on these fees.
Explosives storage licence application