Explosives licensing

This advice is designed to provide basic guidance to traders. It is not a complete or authoritative statement of the law. Some of the advice we provide to businesses is chargeable.

A licence is required if you want to store explosives.

The types of products covered include:

  • blasting explosives
  • ammunition and shooters' powders
  • black powder
  • fireworks
  • marine flares

Certain quantities of explosive can be kept for short periods of time and/or limited quantities, without the need for a licence.

If you are selling fireworks from any premises then you are storing them prior to sale and must be licensed.

Before you apply

Conditions of a licence

All licences will include the type and quantity of explosive to be stored. More detailed conditions relating to the premises may also be attached and sent with the licence.

You must apply for a licence prior to storing explosives (including fireworks). The licensing requirements vary according to type and quantity stored.

You need to apply for a lower tier licence if you wish to store a maximum of either:

  • 30 kgs of Hazard Type 1 or 2 explosives
  • 100 kgs of Hazard Type 3 explosives
  • 250 kgs of Hazard Type 4 explosives

The quantities allowed depend on individual locations (eg separation distances from other buildings, footpaths etc).

What is net mass?

  • The total weight of the explosives within the products, not the gross weight of the products themselves
  • If the net mass of your explosives is more than 250kg, separation distances apply.

Most consumer fireworks, shotgun ammunition, marine distress flares etc are Hazard Type 4 explosives. If you are in any doubt consult your supplier.

If you wish to store more than the above quantities, up to a maximum of 2000 kgs of any Hazard Type, then you need to apply for an upper tier licence.

However, if any of the explosives you wish to store require a Police Certificate under the Control of Explosives Regulations, you will have to apply to Hampshire Police. Phone 01962 841500 (Firearms and Licensing Section) for a licence.

To store quantities in excess of 2000 kgs of any Hazard Type you will have to apply to the Health and Safety Executive.

Licences run from 1 October to the following 30 September.

To confirm whether you need licensing contact us to talk through the type and quantities of explosives you wish to store.


The Health and Safety Executive sets the fees for explosive licences each year. Please note that payment of the fee to process an application is non-refundable in the event a licence is unable to be issued. See the current fees.


Your premises will be inspected and assessed as part of the application process, for new applications or for material changes to existing licences. An inspection will not be required in some instances.

A basic list of what we would consider on an inspection:

  • Point of sale – unauthorised access, underage sales, cabinet content limit and electrics
  • Type of store and conditions (External / Internal) Does it correspond with site or floor plan sent at application stage. Separation distances if applicable
  • What fire safety measures are in place
  • Records – risk assessment, copy of current licence if applicable, training records for staff/managers, refusals register, electrical certificates for permanent ISO stores, stock records available and up to date, damage and returns policy, Public/Employer liability insurance, Landlords permission to store explosives.

Apply for a storage licence

Complete the Application for a Storage Licence form under the Explosives Regulations 2014.

All fields must be completed for an application to be accepted. A floor or site plan must be provided for new applications or those where changes apply on renewal.

Email application to [email protected]

Or post to -
Hampshire County Council
Trading Standards Service
The Castle
SO22 8UJ

Please note that we must receive the application form, plan (of storage) and payment within 5 working days. If we do not receive payment together with these documents, we will be unable to process your application and you will not be licensed

What happens next

Timeline to process an application

We will consider the application before issuing, renewing, modifying or transferring a licence.

We may have to conduct site visits and require the production of other documentation to ensure that statutory requirements are being met.

Once we have received your application together with the correct fee and we are satisfied that the premises meets statutory requirements, we will agree to issue, renew or modify the licence.

It is likely to take 4 weeks to process any application received, so please allow enough time when applying for a new licence.

If I do not hear from you for 28 days, can I assume it has been granted ("tacit consent")?

No, tacit consent will not apply. This is because it is in the public interest that we process your application before it can be granted.

Email [email protected] with your enquiry if you have not heard from us after 28 days of submitting your application

If an application is refused

If your application is refused, please contact us in the first instance and we will discuss your application with you.

If you are refused a licence or registration by the council you can appeal to the secretary of state under Section 44 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Licence renewals and changes

Renewal procedure

The registration or licence has to be renewed annually. A minimum of 28 days before it lapses we will send you a renewal application form.

This should be completed and returned to us, along with the appropriate fee.

Notification of changes to your licence

You will need to formally notify us well in advance of the proposed changes so that we can consider if a variation to the licence is required. An admin fee may apply,  contact us to discuss further.

To notify you need to email us at [email protected]

Transferring a licence to another person

Applications to transfer a licence must be made in writing.  Email us at [email protected] to discuss your requirements.


See Business Companion's guidance on Fireworks for an in-depth guide to the sale of fireworks, including licensing, categories of fireworks and age restriction.

HSE guides

A3 underage sales poster

Apply to sell fireworks all year round

If you wish to sell fireworks all year round, an additional license is required at a cost of £500.

Amendments to a current licence will be charged a minimum of £38 per premise.

All year application form