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Applying for a licence

This page explains how and where to apply for a licence.

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) the acquisition of which is NOT regulated or prohibited by virtue of the firearms Act 1968-97 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.

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, transfer an existing licence or change the name of the licensee

To apply for a licence, transfer a licence or change the name of the licensee, you will need to complete the relevant form and send it, along with any supporting information, to the address given on the form. Information can be sent either electronically or in hard copy.

The relevant fees are payable on the scale laid down in the current Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations. HSE will not normally start work in detail on an application until it has received the relevant application fee

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

Transfer of a licence to another company/individual

If you want to transfer your licence to another company or individual, you should complete form LP43. The company or individual to who you are transferring your licence to should complete form LP44

Change of Name

If you are changing the name of the person or company that holds the licence (but not transferring your licence to another company or individual), your licence should be updated to reflect the new name. To apply for the change to your licence, please complete Form LP45.

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.

Handling explosives in a harbour or Port

Applications can be submitted by a harbour authority, a berth operator or a person having interest in the activities involved.

To apply for a licence to handle explosives in a harbour or port, please complete form LP88.

Further information on handling explosives in ports is available.

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 frequently asked questions page provides additional information on explosives licensing.

Updated: 2020-01-29