Health and Safety
Storage of Explosives - Explosives Licences
Storage of explosives is covered by Explosives Regulations 2014 (ER2014). Before storing explosives, you will generally need a licence from the appropriate Licensing Authority.
The licensing authority has the power to prohibit storage of explosives at the site if it believes the site is no longer suitable. It may also take enforcement action if you are not storing safely.
Licenses can be granted by the Police, HSE or Local Authorities,
The Police issue licence for storage of up to 2000Kgs (2 tonnes) of explosives if some of the explosives are either:
- A relevant explosive that requires an explosive certificate* (e.g. blasting explosives or black powder);
- ammunition the acquisition of which is regulated or prohibited by virtue of the Firearms Acts 1968-97;
- smokeless powder or percussion caps;
- explosives stored by a person who is a registered firearms dealer under S33 of the Firearms Act 1968.
The application should be made to the Police Explosives Liaison Officer on form ER2. Further details can be found on the Dyfed Powys Police website.
The HSE issue following licences:
- Storage of any explosives over 2000Kgs (2 tonnes).
- Manufacture of explosives
- Manufacturer or storage of ammonium nitrate blasting intermediate (ANBI)
- Storage of any quantity of Explosives to be stored at a mine or within a harbour
- Storage of up to 2000 kg of explosives where separation distances in Regulation 27 and schedule 5 cannot be met
Details on how to apply for a licence: HSE: How to Apply
Local Authority (LA)
The LA for the area in which the storage is to take place will issue the licence where storage is up to 2000kg (2 tonnes) of other explosives (typically fireworks, flares and small arms ammunition) where separation distances can be met, none of which requires an explosives certificate* from the Police. See storage licences below for further details.
Licensing requirements depends on the maximum quantity and type of explosives stored at any one time and are based on net weights, which exclude any packaging and casings.
The type of explosive is expressed by hazard type, ranging from Hazard Type 1 (HT1) to Hazard Type 4 (HT4) - HT1 being the most powerful. HT4 fireworks are the type usually sold by retailers.
Small amounts of explosives
A licence is not required for storage of small quantities of explosives - less than 5kg of explosives (HT3 or HT4) or less than 15kg of small arms ammunition or certain explosives being stored for a short period. Details of these exemptions are set out in Regulation 7(2) of ER2014 and are shown in tabular form on the HSE website.
Quantities between 5kg and 250kg of explosives
If you wish to store between 5kg and 250kg (net mass) you will need an explosives licence. The storage area does not need to be separated from other buildings; no separation distances will apply.
Quantities Over 250kg of explosives
If you wish to keep between 250kg and 2,000kg (net mass) you will need an explosives storage licence. The store will need to be separated from other buildings and places where the public have access and separation distances will apply.
Guidance on storage and separation distances can be found on the HSE Explosives website.
Applications for licences which would be issued by the Local Authority (this is typically consumer fireworks and flares) must be made on form ER1 – see Local Guidance Sheets and Application Forms.This must be completed and returned with the relevant application fee (see below) and the appropriate plans.
The following plans should be submitted with the application form:
1. A plan to a scale sufficient to show the location of the site in relation to its surroundings (i.e. named or numbered roads, hamlets, villages or geographical features). Where the site does not have a postal address this should normally be a minimum scale of 1:25000
2. If the store is subject to separation distances, you will also need to provide an Ordance Survey Site plan (or similar) map showing the location of the store and the distances to any neigbouring buildings. The planb should also show any areas where you intend to process or manufacture explosives where a licence for those activities is not required under regulation 6 of ER2014. The scale will depend on the separation distance. For a distance of up to 200 metres, a 1:1250 would normally be required while greater distance would require a 1:2500 or even a SuperPlan. Where this plan clearly identifies the location of the site in relation to its surroundings it can be substituted for the plan referred to in 1 above.
3. If you intend to store or dipslay more than 12.5kg of fireworks on a shop floor, then you must submit a floor plan of the sales area
4. If you intend to store, process or manufacture explosives within a building that is also used for other purposes you should include a floor plan showing the places within the building where you intend storing, processing or manufacturing explosives
Renewal of Licence
5. If there have been no relevant changes to the site usuage, layout or places where explosives are stored, or to the proximity of protected places to the stores since the licence was originally granted or last renewed, then it will not, in general, be necessary for a new plan to be submiited to yout licensing authority
The current fees are listed in the table below. Please note that there are separate fees for a new explosives licences and for renewing the licence. The fees also differ depending on the quantity to be stored, whether a separation distance is required and the licence duration.
Type of application
Licence to store explosives (storing between 250kg and 2,000kg). A minimum separation distance of greater than 0 metres is prescribed.
- 1 year: £189
- 2 years: £248
- 3 years: £311
- 4 years: £382
- 5 years: £432
Renewal of licence to store explosives (storing between 250kg and 2,000kg). A minimum separation distance of greater than 0 metres is prescribed.
- 1 year: £88
- 2 years: £150
- 3 years: £211
- 4 years: £272
- 5 years: £333
Licence to store explosives (storing between 5kg and 250kg). No minimum separation distance or a 0 metres minimum separation distance is prescribed.
- 1 year: £111
- 2 years: £144
- 3 years: £177
- 4 years: £211
- 5 years: £243
Renewal of licence to store explosives (storing between 5kg and 250kg). No minimum separation distance or a 0 metres minimum separation distance is prescribed.
- 1 year: £55
- 2 years: £88
- 3 years: £123
- 4 years: £155
- 5 years: £189
This fee can be paid:
By card: Phone 01437 775631
Sort Code: 20 37 90
Account No: 53671917
Ref: (name) explosives
By cheque made payable to Pembrokeshire County Council
How do you store & sell fireworks safely?
Anyone storing explosives must take appropriate measures to prevent fire or explosion; to limit the extent of any fire or explosion should one occur; and protect persons in the event of a fire or explosion. These safety duties apply even when the storage is exempt from licensing requirements.
An application for a licence will be granted unless any of the grounds prescribed in Regulation 20 of ER2014 apply.
These are that:
- the site (or any place within it) is unsuitable for the manufacture or storage of explosives
- the applicant is not a fit person to manufacture or store explosives.
In determining whether the site is suitable it will be necessary in most, if not all, cases to arrange an inspection of the premises and to check the storage facilities and security arrangements for preventing access to the site.
Subsector guidance on the storage of fireworks and for professional display operators etc. can also be found at: HSE New Regulations
This guidance includes a firework retailers' risk assessment checklist.
Supplying fireworks all year round
Anyone wishing to supply fireworks outside of specified exempted periods (see below) will require a licence under the Fireworks Regulations 2004. This is in addition to and separate from any licence needed for storage of the fireworks, and suppliers of fireworks must therefore still comply with the storage requirements.
A licence to supply will not be required if the supply only takes place during the following exempted periods:
- the first day of Chinese New Year and the three days before
- the period beginning 15 October and ending on 10 November
- the day of Diwali and the three days before
- the period beginning 26 December and ending on 31 December
Furthermore, suppliers that supply solely to other traders or businesses (such as retailers, wholesale or professional organisers of public displays) will not need a licence to supply outside the above periods. Persons transporting fireworks i.e. hauliers are also exempt from the licensing requirements.
There is a statutory fee of £500 a year for the grant of a licence.
This information is a brief summary of the law as it relates to the storage of explosives. It is not an authoritative document on the law and is only intended for guidance.
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Type of application