Guidance to applicants who wish to store explosives

Important: It is your responsibility to ensure you are aware of, and comply with, the Explosives Regulations 2014.

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.

If you are intending to supply fireworks outside the normal permitted period’s e.g.  New Year, Chinese New Year, October 15th-November 10th and Diwali, you will also need to make a separate application to your local licensing authority for a licence to comply with the Fireworks Regulations 2004.

Apply for an explosives/fireworks storage licence

General information on completing the application

1. This form should not be used for an application for a licence to store the explosives listed below:

  • relevant explosives (an explosives certificate is required to acquire or keep the explosives)
  • ammunition the acquisition of which is regulated or prohibited by virtue of the Firearms Act 1968 to 1997
  • smokeless powder or percussion caps
  • explosives stored by a person who is registered as a firearms dealer under section 33 of the Firearms Act 1968

If you want to store the explosives listed above, you should use form ER2.

You should only use this form if you want to store no more than 2000kg of explosives. If you want to store more than 2000kg of explosives you should apply to the Health and Safety Executive for a licence.  Further information on licensing.

2. If there is insufficient room to provide the information requested, please continue on a separate sheet(s). You should also put your name and address at the top of each sheet before attaching the sheet(s) to your application form.

3. Please contact your local licensing authority if you have any questions about completing this form or about your application.  If you live in the metropolitan counties (i.e. West Midlands, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Tyne and Wear, South and West Yorkshire) or in Oxfordshire, Cornwall or Norfolk, you will need to apply to the fire and rescue service.  In other areas you will normally need to contact the trading standards department of your local authority.

4. Please note: Any previous convictions you may have may be subject to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and you do not have to include convictions that are ‘spent’ on this application form. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act does not apply to corporate bodies or companies .Where the application relates to a corporate body or company convictions of all directors should be listed.  Where the application relates in Scotland to a partnership, convictions of all partners should be listed.  Further information on how Licensing Authorities will consider the relevance of previous convictions to an application for a licence.

5. Separation distances – please see Regulation 27 of the Explosives Regulation 2014. You will not normally be required to maintain separation distances if you store no more than:

  • 250kg HT4
  • 25kg HT3 (or combination of HT3 and HT4)
  • 0.1kg HT1
  • o.1kg HT2

on one site. If you are unsure whether your store or on places where you will be manufacturing or processing explosives on site are subject to separation distances, contact your local licensing authority.

The following documents should be submitted with the application form

6. 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.

7. If the store is subject to separation distances you will also need to provide an Ordnance Survey Siteplan (or similar) map showing the location of the store and distances to any neighbouring buildings.  The plan 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 6 above.

8. If you intend to store or display more than 12.5kg of fireworks on a shop floor, the licensing authority will require you submit a floor plan of the sales area.

9. 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 the explosives.

10. The fee must also be submitted with the application. Information on fees or contact your licensing authority for advice.

Renewal of licence

11. If there have been no relevant changes to the site usage, 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 submitted to your licensing authority.

Hazard type and quantity

12. The licensing authority will need to know the hazard type and quantity of the explosives you wish to store to determine whether your store is suitable. The quantity you will be allowed to store will depend on the hazard type of the explosives. Please contact your supplier if you are uncertain about the hazard types of explosive you wish to store.

13. The “quantity” refers to the ‘net mass’ of the explosives.  This means the weight of the explosive contained within an article i.e. less packaging, casings, etc.

Period of validity

14.  Licences for fireworks and other explosives that do not require an explosive certificate may be granted for up to 5 years as the licensing authority determines.


15. Most employers are required by law to insure against liability for injury or disease to their employees arising out of their employment. The Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 ensures that you have at least a minimum level of insurance cover against any such claims. More information on employers liability insurance.

16. Public liability insurance is not required by health and safety law. However, if you are manufacturing or storing explosives (including fireworks) you may wish to take out public liability insurance. Many industry trade associations and professional bodies require this as a condition of membership. Professional display operators using category F4 fireworks, T2 theatrical pyrotechnics or P2 pyrotechnic articles are required by product safety law to have public liability insurance in place covering their use.

Last updated on 08/09/2021