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Carriage authorisations for explosives



1  To provide staff with guidance on procedures for dealing with applications to HSE for authorisations for the carriage of explosives where the requirements of the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009 (CDG 2009) and ADR cannot be fully complied with.


2 All carriage of explosives is expected to comply with CDG 2009 and ADR, unless specifically excluded.  There are occasions however when it is not possible or practicable to comply, for example when unclassified explosives need to be moved urgently.  Under these circumstances it will be necessary to issue an authorisation for that carriage.  An authorisation must only be issued if it is justifiable, safe and permitted by the regulations.

3 Regulation 12(1) of CDG 2009 makes provision for the competent authority to authorise carriage of dangerous goods that is contrary to the requirements or prohibitions of CDG 2009 provided that:

  1. the carriage is national carriage and
  2. the authorisation relates to prohibitions and requirements arising out of functions of the competent authority.

4  Authorisations may only be granted by HSE in respect of the specific areas of ADR where it is the competent authority for class 1 goods ie:


5   Authorisations may be appropriate under the following circumstances.  

6  Authorisations for the carriage of explosives are signed by HM Chief Inspector of Explosives (HMCIE), who needs to be satisfied that the authorisation is justified and the conditions are appropriate. 


7  Any request for an authorisation should be robustly challenged to ensure that it is genuinely necessary: ie. is compliance truly impracticable, not just inconvenient or costly?  Is authorisation the appropriate approach? The alternative may be a time limited classification, or to deal with the explosives without transporting them at all.

8  The inspector should be satisfied that the carriage can be undertaken safely by obtaining the details of proposal from the person making the request.

9  The information required to draw up the authorisation will depend on the circumstances and will include, but not be limited to, the following:

Preparing the Authorisation

10  Authorisation numbers are allocated by DfT, who have pre-allocated a block of numbers to the Explosives Inspectorate (ExI).  A register of ExI authorisations is kept on TRIM [Ref 2010/19295].  Consult with the nominated Band 6 admin team member to pick the next number and record its allocation on the register.  It is the responsibility of the inspector dealing with the application to ensure that they have a properly allocated authorisation number and that there is no duplication of numbers.

11  The inspector should draft the authorisation as a Word document using the template [TRIM Ref 2010/300001].  The authorisation should specify:

  1. The purpose of the authorisation
  2. Its duration. All authorisations should be time limited as appropriate to     the circumstances.  For example authorisations for a single journey should allow a reasonable window of time (from a few days to a few weeks) for the carriage to be completed in case of unforeseen circumstances.  Authorisations for multiple journeys may run for longer periods but current policy is that only in exceptional circumstances will periods longer than 1 year be granted. 
  3. The specific alternate carriage provisions.  These should set out the measures to be taken to ensure safe carriage where provisions of the Carriage Regs and ADR cannot be met.
    1. Start and finish points (it is not normally necessary to specify the route), but include any stopping points or intermediate pick-ups.
    2. What is to be carried – be as specific as possible in the circumstances, including weights, quantities, net explosive content (where known).
    3. A Hazard Division should be applied to the goods.  This is a matter for informed judgement by the inspector and may justifiably be influenced by the track record of the applicant. Where little reliable information on the nature of the load is available, the inspector should generally assign a “worst case” hazard division appropriate to the type and quantity of explosive. Inspectors should not however be unrealistically pessimistic in assigning hazard division, e.g. for small quantities of low hazard items, a 1.3 or even 1.4 hazard division might be appropriate.
    4. A UN number should normally be assigned, but this is not always practicable, e.g. where different natures of items are carried.  In this case the authorisation should state “The UN number should not be marked on the packages”
    5. The packaging to ensure safe carriage.  Where possible UN certified packaging should be specified and used.


12  The inspector should ensure that the applicant understands and can comply with the conditions. 

13  Wherever possible, the inspector should forward a draft authorisation to the Head of Land Transport Team at DfT for comment [see the nominated Band 6 Admin team member for contact details].  However difficulty in contacting DfT should not hold up issuing authorisations in urgent cases.  DfT should however be kept informed.

14  When the draft is agreed, forward to HMCIE by email as a Word document.  The suggested document name is “Draft Authorisation No XXX – Company Name – purpose of the authorisation”.  It is important to include the word “draft” in this version.  The email should explain relevant issues that have influenced:

  1. the decision that authorisation is appropriate
  2. the details and conditions of the authorisation


15  If an authorisation request is refused after the authorisation number has been allocated, the relevant entry in the register of authorisations should be annotated with “Refused” in the “Date Signed” column and N/A in the “Valid Dates From/To” column.

16  The applicant should be informed of the reason(s) for the refusal and the reasons should be added to a note on the COIN case. (see below)


17  Authorisations should not be varied or amended.  If an applicant wishes to change an existing authorisation, a new authorisation, with a new number should be prepared.  The existing authorisation should be revoked as a condition of the new authorisation.

Admin procedures

18  Authorisations should be prepared as Word documents and will be converted to .pdf documents by HMCIE at the point of authorisation.  The administrative procedure for authorisations is contained in the separate Admin job guide.

COIN Recording

19  A new COIN case should be created for each authorisation as soon as a request is received. 

Category = Permissioning,
Speciality Type  = Explosives Carriage Authorisation (ECA)
Title = Applicant’s Name, Carriage Authorisation for Explosives No XXX 

20  Time spent on preparing the authorisation should be booked against the case and the activity “Assessment, Approvals and Permissioning (nc)”.  A note should be created for the completed authorisation and the authorisation and email correspondence, including the confirmation from HMCIE should be attached to the note.  Once completed the case should be assigned status Closed-Approved.

21  Where the customer does not have a COIN entry, which may be the case for a haulage company for instance, a new customer and site record should be created. 

22  In the case of a generic authorisation, where a single dutyholder cannot be identified, the General Case 4206163 should be used for time recording.  Each generic authorisation should be added to this case as a new note and the documents attached as at 15 above.

Compliance monitoring

23  The inspector preparing the authorisation should give consideration to how, or whether, subsequent compliance will be monitored and, if so, by whom. For short duration, one-off authorisations, it may be appropriate to add a condition requiring the authorised party to confirm when the transport has taken place and that it was carried out with, or without, incident. For longer duration authorisations, additional options may include making arrangements to check – either personally or through other enforcing authorities - that the actual carriage complied with the authorisation.  Details of any checks should be recorded on COIN.

24  In any case, where ExI is not the main HSWA regulator for the authorised party, that regulator should be notified when the authorisation is granted.

Further information

HID SI2 Explosives Inspectorate  0151 951 4025

Updated 2020-12-09