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Applying for a licence

This page explains how and where to apply for a licence to manufacture or store explosives.

Licensing and enforcement authorities (by location, type and quantity of explosive)
Activity Licensing authority Enforcing authority
Manufacture of explosives HSE HSE
Manufacture and storage of any quantity of explosives at ONR regulated sites ONR ONR
Storage of more than 2000 kg of explosives HSE HSE
Manufacture and storage of Ammonium Nitrate Blasting Intermediate (ANBI) HSE or ONR (at ONR regulated sites) HSE or ONR (at ONR regulated sites)
Storage of any quantity of explosives on the surface of a mine, whether in a building or not HSE HSE
Storage of any quantity of explosives within a harbour areas HSE HSE
Storage of up to 2000 kg of explosives if some of the explosives are either:
  • smokeless powder, or  percussion caps
  • a relevant explosive that requires an explosives certificate* (eg blasting explosives or black powder)
  • Ammunition the acquisition of which is regulated or prohibited by virtue of the firearms Act 1968-97
  • Explosives that are to be stored by a person who is a registered firearms dealer
Police Police
Storage of up to 2000 kg of other explosives (including fireworks and small arms ammunition) where separation distances can be met, none of which requires and explosives certificate* Local licensing authority Local licensing authority
 Storage of up to 2000 kg of explosives where separation distances in Regulation 27 and schedule 5 cannot be met HSE or ONR (at ONR regulated sites) HSE or ONR (at ONR regulated sites)
Handling explosives in a harbour HSE HSE
On-site mixing n/a HSE

* Explosives that do not require an explosives certificate are listed in Schedule 2 to the Explosives Regulations 2014.

Apply for a licence from the local Authority

Contact the licensing authority for the area where the site is located, for advice and an application form. Details on which local authority to apply to, is detailed below. An example of the application form is available to view on the forms page.

Local licensing authorities

England: The Fire and Rescue Service is the enforcing authority in the metropolitan counties (West Midlands, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Tyne and Wear, South, and West Yorkshire), as well as in Cornwall. For all other areas, the enforcing authority will normally be the trading standards department of the local authority (in some parts of England this will be part of the county council).

Scotland and Wales: For explosives not requiring an explosives certificate the enforcing authority is the local council.

Where a district council or city council has taken over the functions of the county council, the authority may have agreed with the police or combined fire authority for the fire authority to enforce and the administer licensing on its behalf.

Apply for a licence from the police

Contact the local explosives liaison officer. For the area where the site is located for advice and an application form.  An example of the application form is available to view on the forms page.

Apply for a licence from HSE

Manufacture of explosives, storage of more than 2000kg of explosives, or Manufacture and storage of ANBI

Before completing the application form (LP41) please read the Memorandum of guidance to applicants
Enclose a draft licence, which must include the following:

If you have further evidence to support the suitability of the proposed site, you should enclose copies of this evidence. Examples include reports of explosives surveys by the MoD’s Explosive Storage and Transport Committee.

If you are applying to vary an existing licence then you must enclose a draft varying licence.

Enclose the relevant application fee. Fees are payable on the scale laid down in the current Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations. There is an initial fee for all licences and a further fee payable for all work done on ER2014 and Ports (DSHAR) licences.

Storage of less than 2000kg of explosives where separation distances can be met

Information on how to apply for a licence for less than 2000kg is available on the forms page.

Apply for a licence from the Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR)

Contact ONR if you are applying for a licence for the manufacture and/or storage of explosives at ONR regulated sites.

The FAQ provides additional information on explosives licensing.

Updated: 2016-02-04