Explosives licensing

This advice is designed to provide basic guidance to traders. It is not a complete or authoritative statement of the law. Please note that 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.

The HSE website provides additional information:

Health and Safety Executive - explosives (external website)
Health and Safety Executive - explosives regulations guidance (external website)

Are the premises suitable

To help you understand the different options and requirements for storing explosives, West Yorkshire Fire Service have produced a flowchart for retailers:

West Yorkshire Fire Service - Firework storage flowchart (external pdf - opens in new window)

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.

How to apply for an explosives 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.

Fees

The Health and Safety Executive sets the fees for explosive licences each year. The current fees are shown in the following tables:

Type Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
New upper tier licence £185 £243 £304 £374 £423
Upper tier renewal £86 £147 £206 £266 £326
New lower tier licence £109 £141 £173 £206 £238
Lower tier renewal £54 £86 £120 £152 £185

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

All year application form

Storage licence application

Application for a Storage Licence 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 tsadvice@hants.gov.uk

Or post to -
Hampshire County Council
Trading Standards Service
Culture, Communities and Business Services
Montgomery House
Monarch Way
Winchester
Hampshire SO22 5PW

Inspections

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.
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.

If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please contact us on 01962 833 60 and ask to speak to the administration team.

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.

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. There is no fee associated with this.

To notify you need to contact us at tsadvice@hants.gov.uk

Transferring a licence to another person

Applications to transfer a licence must be made in writing.  Please contact us at tsadvice@hants.gov.uk to discuss your requirements.

Further information

Fireworks

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