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Explosives and fireworks sales and storage

If it is your intention to store and supply any explosives you may need a licence to do so. This includes the storage of fireworks, ammunition and shooters powders, car air bags and seatbelt pre-tensioners, party poppers and other pyrotechnic articles.

The Explosives Regulations 2014 require you to:

  • take appropriate measures to prevent fire and explosion, to limit the extent of fire and explosion and protect persons from the effects of fire and explosion
  • take all appropriate precautions for preventing unauthorised persons having access to the explosives or the places where they are stored

It is the responsibility of the licensee to ensure they are aware of, and comply with the Explosives Regulations 2014, and that you satisfy the specified separation distances.

Further guidance is available at HSE: Explosive Regulations 2014.

Before applying

The conversion table is in UN number order (lowest to highest). Find the UN number in the table to find its hazard type value and use this on your application.
UN numberHazard typeName and description
0012HT4Cartridges, small arms
0014HT4Cartridges, small arms, blank
0044HT4Primers, cap type
0054HT3Cartridges, signal
0055HT4Cases, cartridge, empty, with primer
0066HT4Cord, igniter
0070HT4Cutters, cable, explosive
0092HT3Flares, surface
0093HT3Flares, aerial
0101HT3Fuse, instantaneous, non-detonating (quickmatch)
0105HT4Fuse, safety
0131HT4Lighters, fuse
0158HT3Potassium salts of aromatic nitro-derivatives, explosive
0193HT4Signals, railway track, explosive
0197HT4Signals, smoke without explosive sound unit
0234HT3Sodium Dinitro–o–Cresolate, dry or wetted with less than 15% water by mass
0235HT3Sodium Picramate, dry or wetted with less than 20% water by mass
0236HT3Zirconium Picramate dry or wetted with less than 20% water by mass
0240HT3Rockets, line throwing
0275HT3Cartridges, power device
0276HT4Cartridges, power device
0277HT3Cartridges, oil well
0278HT4Cartridges, oil well
0305HT3Flash powder
0312HT4Cartridges, signal
0323HT4Cartridges, power device
0327HT3Cartridges, small arms, blank
0338HT4Cartridges, small arms, blank
0339HT4Cartridges, small arms
0373HT4Signal devices, hand
0378HT4Primers, cap type
0379HT4Cases, cartridge, empty, with primer
0403HT4Flares, aerial
0404HT4Flares, aerial
0405HT4Cartridges, signal
0407HT4Tetrazol-1-acetic acid
0430HT3Articles, pyrotechnic for technical purposes
0431HT4Articles, pyrotechnic for technical purposes
0432HT4Articles, pyrotechnic for technical purposes
0446HT4Cases, cartridge, empty, without primer
0447HT3Cases, cartridge, empty, without primer
0448HT45-mercapto-tetrazol-1-acetic acid
0453HT4Rockets, line throwing

Guidance notes for applying for a Storage Licence under the Explosives Regulations 2014
Explosive Regulations 2014

It is your responsibility to comply with the Explosives Regulations 2014.

We have the power to prohibit storage of explosives at the site if we believe the site is no longer suitable. We may also take enforcement action if you are not storing safely.


Our online form should not be used for an application for a licence to store the following explosives:

  • 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 Acts 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 our 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.

Hazard type and quantity

We 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.

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

Previous convictions

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.

The Health and Safety Executive provide guidance on how we consider the relevance of previous convictions to an application.

Separation distances

Regulation 27 of the Explosives Regulation 2014 provides information on separation distances. 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
  • 0.1kg 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 us on email [email protected] quoting your name and explosives reference number.

Evidence we need

The following documents should be submitted with the application form:

  • 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.
  • if the store is subject to separation distances you will also need to provide an Ordnance Survey site plan (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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


The application fee must be paid with the application.


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 generally be necessary for a new plan to be submitted to your licensing authority.


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.


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. 

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.

Further guidance

If you would like to provide further information, use the comments box at the end of the form or email [email protected] quoting your name and explosives reference number.


If you intend to renew an existing licence you will receive a renewal letter with instructions and an application form. The form must be completed each time you renew.

Fees are set by the Explosives Regulations 2014 and are subject to review.

Fireworks supply

Fireworks can only be supplied or exposed for supply at certain times of the year.

A licence issued under the Fireworks Regulations 2014 allows you to store explosives and supply them.

The specified times are:

  • from 15 October to 10 November
  • from 26 to 31 December
  • on the first day of the Chinese New Year and the three days immediately preceding this
  • on the first day of Diwali and the three days immediately preceding this

If you wish to supply fireworks outside of these times you must apply for an additional licence under the Fireworks Regulations 2004.

Risk assessments

The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 require a risk assessment to be carried out for the storage of explosives.

If you have 5 or more employees the risk assessment must be recorded. Guidance on risk assessments is available at HSE Risk Management FAQs.

Last updated 03 April 2024