The legal requirements for storing explosives are set out in the Explosives Regulations 2014 (ER2014).
The amount you can store, where you can store it, and how long you can store it for will depend on the type of explosive and the quantity.
Before storing explosives, you will generally need a licence from the appropriate licensing authority. Information on how to apply for a licence is available online.
Certain quantities of explosive can be kept for short periods of time and/or limited quantities, without the need for a licence. but the separation distance requirements of the regulations will still need to be met.
|Hazard type or description||ER regulation||How much can be kept without a licence (kg net mass)?||Duration of storage|
|Shooter’s powder||7(2)(a)(i)||Up to 10 kg||Indefinite|
||7(2)(a)(ii)||5 kg in total||Indefinite|
|Percussion caps or small arms ammunition or a mixture of them||7(2)(a)(iii)||15 kg||Indefinite|
|Hazard Type 1 or 2 explosives||regulation 7(2)(b)(i)||7 kg||Up to 24 hours|
|A combination of Hazard Type 1 or 2 explosives with explosives of another hazard type||regulation 7(2)(b)(ii)|
|Hazard Type 3 or 4 explosives||regulation 7(2)(c)||Unlimited||Up to 24 hours|
|Hazard Type 3 explosives consisting of fireworks||regulation 7(2)(d)(i), (ii) and (iii)||100 kg||Up to 5 days in their place of intended use|
|A combination of shooters' powders and Hazard Type 3 and 4 explosives consisting of fireworks|
|Hazard Type 4 explosives||regulation 7(2)(e)(i)||250 kg||Up to 5days in their place of intended use|
|Hazard Type 4 fireworks||regulation 7(2)(e)(ii)||50 kg||Up to 21 days consecutively and not for sale or for use at work|
Note: An allowance may be claimed under one heading only.
For fireworks, small arms ammunition and similar pyrotechnic articles, the mass of the explosive will be only a fraction of the total mass of the item.
If the manufacturer has provided specific information (for example on the box or on the item itself) on the weight of the explosive content then this should be used as the amount. If they have not, or if the net amount is unclear, the supplier should be contacted.
The maximum quantities that may be kept under the licence, or one of the exceptions above, are the maximum quantities that may be present at that site at any one time. This includes explosives that are only temporarily present at the site – for example explosives being transferred from one vehicle to another.
The duties in regulations 6 and 7 fall on the person who is manufacturing and/or storing the explosive. The licensee is accountable for compliance with the conditions of the licence; it is therefore essential that the person who holds the licence has effective control over the activities covered by the licence. Equally a person carrying out these activities would be in breach of these regulations if they did not hold a licence - even if someone else held a licence covering these activities at that site.
It is expected that in most situations the licensee would be manufacturing and/or storing on its own behalf, would be the sole occupier of the site, and would have complete control of the activities taking place there covered by the licence. There are however situations where this may not apply and where further guidance is necessary. These are:
Anyone manufacturing and/or storing explosives would normally need to hold a licence even if they are carrying out the activities on behalf of a third party.
An individual or business that contracts a third party to store on its behalf would not normally require a licence.
Who is carrying out the activity and holds the duty under the licence depends on who has effective control of the operation, ie who determines in practice what is stored and how it is stored. For example:
Find out more about security arrangements for storing explosives