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Fireworks and Explosive Storage Licences

Licence Summary 

The new Explosives Regulations 2014 (ER 2014) came into force on 1 October 2014 and has replaced the Manufacturer Storage of Explosives Regulations 2015 (MSER).

The ER 2014 consolidates and therefore revokes a number of existing explosives regulations. It brings together the requirements of health and safety related explosives legislation into a framework based around common topics such as authorisation, safety, security and placing on the market.  

The main changes to the regulatory framework include: 

  • Merging registrations into the licensing system
  • Allowing local authorities to issue licences up to 5 years, aligning them with equivalent HSE/police-issued licences
  • Extending licensing to address storage of ammonium nitrate blasting intermediate (ANBI)
  • Exceptions for keeping higher hazard and desensitised explosives without a licence have been updated
  • Tables of separation distances have been restructured to better allow for sites with more than one store; the tables have also been revised to cover quantities of explosives greater than 2000kg
  • A revised list of explosives that can be acquired or acquired and kept without an explosives certificate from the police
  • The repeal of the Fireworks Act 1951, as its remaining provisions have been superseded by the Pyrotechnic (Safety) Regulations 2010 can be found on the website.


Do I need a licence? 

A Local Authority License is required for storage of up to 2000kg of  explosives including fireworks and small ammunition.

This includes both the amount held on a shop floor sales area as well as in stock rooms or storage areas.  

If you store less than 5kg of explosives, then there is no need to be licensed.  

In the case of fireworks, most for retail sale are Hazard Type 4, but some may be Hazard Type 3 (usually marked 1.3G).  If you are storing any Hazard Type 3 explosives your entire stock should be treated as such and therefore a maximum of 100kg can be stored.  However if you are then storing more than 25kg, you are also subject to separation distances from other buildings, accommodation or public areas. 

The quantities are often marked on the outer packaging but if you are in any doubt as to the Hazard Type or NEQ you should seek advice from your supplier, as responsibility to store in a safe manner and within permitted quantities rests with the licence holder. 

The quantities referred to in the new Regulations are the Net Explosives Quantity (NEQ) and not the gross weight. 

NEQ is the quantity of the actual explosives contained within the product.


Supply and Storage of Fireworks All Year

You will also need to apply for an annual fireworks licence if you intend to supply or expose for supply fireworks other than during the following periods: 

  • on the first day of the Chinese New Year and the three days immediately preceding it;
  • on the day of Diwali and the three days immediately preceding it;
  • during the period beginning on 15 October and ending on 10 November; or
  • during the period beginning on 26 December and ending on 31 December.

If you need to apply for annual storage and supply licence please see our Annual Supply of Fireworks Licence information page.


Regulation Summary

A copy of the relevant legislation can be found on the website.


Application Process

See our Licensing Fees and Charges webpage for a full list of application fees.

The legislation requires the supply of detailed information as part of the application process. This includes the requirement for a detailed plan of the premises and details of any convictions held by the applicant. The issuing of a storage licence for more than one year will be assessed on individual bases against risk and issues highlighted from officer inspections.


How To Apply

To apply for an Explosives Licence please download and complete the application form.


Guidance Notes 

For further advice and Safety and Storage Regulations visit the HSE Website


Will Tacit Consent Apply?

Tacit consent means that if we have not dealt with applications within the target period then the application can be deemed to have been granted/approved.

Please note that tacit consent does not apply in respect of this application. It is in the public interest therefore the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the local authority within a reasonable period, please contact it.


Licence Holder Redress

Any applicant who is refused a licence can appeal to the Secretary Of State.  Please contact us in the first instance.


Consumer Complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you, preferably in the form of a letter (with proof of delivery).  If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, visit our Consumer pages or DirectGov for advice.  From outside of the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre

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