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Transfer of explosives

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This page contains information on the controls that apply to the transfer civil of explosives within Great Britain (GB) under Regulation 8 of the Explosives Regulations 2014. It outlines the responsibilities for those involved in the transfer of explosives, the documentation required and how to apply for it.

Parallel regulations apply in Northern Ireland.


Before any civil explosives are transferred, the consignee must obtain a Recipient Competent Authority (RCA) document which grants approval for the transfer.

Many civil explosives will also be relevant explosives, which are explosives for which an explosives certificate is required. See authorisations for further information on explosives certificates.

Depending on the particular circumstances you will obtain your RCA from either your local Police Authority or HSE.

What is a transfer of explosives?

In this context, transfer means the physical movement of explosives from one place to another. Moving explosives within a site (such as a factory, mine, quarry, and construction site) is exempt from the Regulations.

There are some prohibitions concerning the transfer of relevant explosives (those which require an explosives certificate to acquire or acquire and keep). These prohibitions are covered in Regulation 31 of the Explosives Regulation 2014.

Who does the Regulation apply to?

The regulation applies to anyone who transfers explosives, be they individuals or companies.

Does the Regulation apply to all explosives?

Regulation 8 applies to the transfers of ALL explosives which have been, or would be classified in accordance with the UN recommendations as falling within class 1– except:

In relation to the exclusion for 'explosives intended for lawful use by the police or armed forces' this refers to the 'intended use'. In this context, a distinction needs to be drawn between the immediate use and possible eventual use for military purposes. A starting point for determining whether the explosive falls within the exclusion would be whether the explosive falls within the Common Military List of the European Union. In principle, such explosives could be regarded as military explosives. However, the possibility of dual use cannot be excluded. If the immediate consignee is a commercial company, the rules of the Directive should apply up to the point it becomes clear the ultimate use is military.

If the explosive is not on the common military list it should be regarded as a commercial explosive and treated accordingly unless the consignee is the armed forces or the police.

How do I apply for, or renew an RCA document?

If you hold an Explosives Certificate issued before 1st June 2012 you should contact HSE for your RCA document. Either post or email HSE’s Explosives Inspectorate a copy (not the original) of both sides of your current Explosives Certificate. You should also contact HSE if you require an RCA document and the transfer of explosives is between EU states, or if your explosives are listed under Schedule 2 to ER2014

In England and Wales - All new certificates issued after 1st June 2012 should contain an RCA document. If you are applying for a new/replacement explosives certificate. You should contact your local Police explosives liaison officer. Your new certificate will contain an RCA document without you needing to contact HSE.

In Scotland - Holders of explosives certificates from Police services in Scotland should continue to apply to HSE for an RCA document.

Your RCA document will include the UN Numbers of the explosives shown on your explosives certificate. It will also include the UN Numbers for those explosives to which the transfer requirements apply but which do not require an Explosives Certificate to acquire and keep (eg smokeless powder) that you have indicated on your application form. The RCA document's expiry date will be the same as the expiry date on your Explosives Certificate.

If you require a RCA document but do not hold an Explosives Certificate, as you only acquire or keep explosives contained on schedule 2 to ER2014 - contact the HSE Explosives Inspectorate clearly stating which explosives you wish to transfer.

The Regulations require you to keep the RCA document or a certified copy for a period of three years from completion of the transfer. In practice, this normally means three years after expiry of the RCA document

Transfers from overseas

If you wish to receive explosives directly from outside the United Kingdom, you will need an Intra Community Transfer document (ICT). This allows authorisation of the transfer into the United Kingdom and by each EU Member State through which the explosives will pass. HSE authorises transfers into the UK where they end in Great Britain, and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) authorises transfers into the UK where they end in Northern Ireland.

The ICT application form contains explanatory notes for guidance.  You should complete parts 1–4 of the form  and send it to HSE’s Explosives Inspectorate as a word document email attachment along with copy of your current RCA document.

Depending on the itinerary your application may be processed through SCEPYLT, an electronic system for the production and issue of intra-community transfer of explosives documents (ICTs)

Transfers involving countries that do not use SCEPYLT

Approved documents will be issued in hard copy. Applicants will need to contact the Competent Authority in each of the countries involved in the transfer to obtain their approval.

Transfers where originating, recipient, and all transfer countries use SCEPYLT

Following initial approval of the application details will be entered onto SCEPYLT. Each relevant competent authority will then verify and approve the application electronically. The final authorised ICT document(s) will be issued in hard copy format by the Competent Authority in the originating country to the supplier. No documents will be issued to the applicant. Applicants should contact their supplier if they require a copy of the ICT.

Transfers where the explosives transit through UK

a) Where the itinerary includes any non SCEPYLT using countries original copies of the ICT issued by the recipient Competent Authority will be manually authorised.

b) Where the itinerary solely includes countries using SCEPYLT, the ICT will be authorised electronically using SCEPYLT. The final authorised ICT document(s) will be issued in hard copy format by the originating country to the supplier. No documents will be issued to the applicant. Applicants should contact their supplier if they require a copy of the ICT.

Incomplete/ inaccurate applications or failure to allow sufficient time for your application to be processed may result in delays to your consignment.  

It is your duty to ensure that the explosives listed on the ICT application have been properly classified by a Competent Authority of a Contracting Party to the European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR).  For information on classification of explosives see Classification of Explosives.

The document must accompany the explosives at all times until they arrive at their destination.

Updated 2020-09-07