Anyone wishing to manufacture or store a quantity of explosives (including retailers selling fireworks) within their premises must be registered or licensed by a licensing authority.
The organisation to whom an application must be made will depend on the type and quantity of the explosives it is intended to store.
- If you intend to manufacture any form of explosive or firework, you must be licensed to do so by the Health and Safety Executive.
- If you intend to store 2,000kg or more of explosives (net weight), you must be licensed by the Health and Safety Executive.
- If you intend to store up to 2,000kg (net) of a type of explosive that requires an explosives certificate (e.g. blasting explosive or black powder), or smokeless powder, you must be registered with the Metropolitan Police.
- If you intend to import any fireworks, you must be registered with HM Customs and Excise.
Sections in this guide (click title to view)
- 1. Storage registrations
- 2. Storage licences
- 3. Annual supply licences
- 4. Use of fireworks
- 5. Excluded explosives
- 6. More than 2000kg of explosives
- 7. Convictions
- 8. Separation Distances
- 9. Plans
- 10. Hazard type and quantity
- 11. Period of validity
- 12. Fees
- 13. Generic schedule of works and floor plan
- 14. List of registered licence holders
1. Storage registrations
The majority of premises storing explosives will only have a relatively small amount of explosives on their premises at any one time. This will typically include retailers selling fireworks only at certain times of the year, garages storing airbag detonators, and other premises where explosives form only a minor part of the overall business. For these premises, a storage registration will be the most suitable type of authorisation.
The maximum quantity of explosives that can be stored in registered premises may not exceed one of the following:
- 30kg of explosives of any hazard type
- 100kg of hazard type 3 explosives, or a combination of hazard type 3/4 explosives
- 250kg of hazard type 4 explosives
- 250kg of small arms ammunition and percussion caps, and 30kg of shooters powder.
Shops selling fireworks may be subject to additional limits, restricting the amount of fireworks that may be kept in the shop at any one time. Further fireworks can be stored in a storeroom up to the full amount as listed above.
When considering applications for registration, we will look at whether or not the premises is suitable for the storage of explosives, and whether the applicant has previously been convicted of explosives-related offences. If we have concerns about an application, we are required to allow the applicant to make representation in support of their application, before coming to a decision.
Registrations are usually valid for a year (expiring in September), although they can be revoked if it is believed that the premises is no longer suitable or if there are concerns in respect of the fitness of the registered person.
- New storage registrations (one year): £105
- Renewal of storage registration (one year): £52
- Variation of storage registration or licence (to amend name or address): £35
- Variation of storage registration or licence (any other change): Reasonable cost of the work carried out.
Apply for a storage registration
2. Storage licences
Businesses that need to store larger amounts of explosives than a registration would allow can apply for a storage licence. This will include specialist retailers selling large quantities of fireworks, or other businesses involved with explosives on a daily basis.
No more than 2,000kg of explosives can be stored in premises licensed by the council. If it is intended to store more than this, or to store types of explosive that require Explosive Certificates, then an application must be made to either the Health and Safety Executive or the Metropolitan Police.
When considering applications for licences, we will look at whether or not the premises is suitable for the storage of explosives, and whether the applicant has previously been convicted of explosives-related offences. If we have concerns about an application, we are required to allow the applicant to make representation in support of his application, before coming to a decision.
Licences are usually valid for a year (expiring in September), although they can be revoked if it is believed that the premises is no longer suitable or if there are concerns in respect of the fitness of the licensee.
- £178 for an initial application for an explosives store licence, where separation distances are prescribed (one year)
- £83 for renewal of explosives store licence fee, where separation distances are prescribed (one year)
- £105 for initial explosives registration licence, where separation distances are not prescribed (one year)
- £52 for renewal of registration licence (one year)
- £35 for variation, transfer or replacement of licence or registration
Apply for a storage licence
3. Annual supply licences
The operators of premises that have been registered or licensed to store explosives are entitled to supply fireworks at four times of the year:
- between 15 October and 10 November
- between 26 December and 31 December
- for four days ending on the first day of the Chinese New Year
- for four days ending on the day of Diwali.
Anyone wishing to supply fireworks at any other time of year must hold a separate Annual supply licence, in addition to a storage registration or licence.
- New or renewal annual supply licence (one year): £500
Apply for an annual supply licence
4. Use of fireworks
It is against the law for anyone under-18 to possess fireworks in a public place (except for caps, party poppers, sparklers and similar).
It is against the law for anyone to possess Category 4 fireworks (professional display fireworks), unless they are employed in certain fireworks-related trades and possess them strictly for the purposes of their employment.
It is illegal to use fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except on:
- 5 November (when fireworks may be used until midnight)
- New Year's Eve (until 1am on New Year's Day)
- the first day of the Chinese New Year (until 1am on the following day)
- on the day of Diwali (until 1am on the following day).
5. Excluded explosives
This form should not be used for an application for a licence to store the explosives listed below:
- relevant 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
6. More than 2000kg of explosives
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.
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. 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. Find out Information on how Licensing Authorities will consider the relevance of previous convictions to an application for a licence.
8. Separation Distances
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 - 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 the Licensing Team.
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 Super Plan. Where this plan clearly identifies the location of the site in relation to its surroundings it can be substituted for the plan referred to above.
If you intend to store or display more than 12.5kg of fireworks on a shop floor, you will be required to 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.
10. Hazard type and quantity
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.
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.
11. Period of validity
- 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.
- £178 for an initial application for an explosives store 1-year licence fee (where separation distances are prescribed)
- £83 for renewal of explosives store 1-year licence fee (where separation distances are prescribed)
- £105 for initial explosives registration - 1-year licence (where separation distances are not prescribed)
- £52 for renewal of registration - 1-year licence
- £35 for variation, transfer or replacement of license or registration
13. Generic schedule of works and floor plan
To progress your application you need to provide a schedule of all proposed works you intend to carry out to ensure safe storage and sale of explosives. Include a floor plan of the premises indicating the location and size of both the non-public storage area and the shop floor public area, along with the proposed location of any firework display cabinet(s), emergency escape routes and the location of fire extinguishers.
The plan may be hand-drawn but must include the floor sizes of the two areas, or site, together with a copy of your risk assessment.
If there is domestic/sleeping accommodation above, adjoining or in the vicinity of the premises where you intend to store explosives please advise if it is occupied.
To help we have provided this example generic plans and schedule of works. You can use this as a guide, changing it as necessary to reflect the specific circumstances relating to your proposed activities. Attach any extra information you feel necessary.
14. List of registered licence holders
Below is a Register of premises authorised for the storage of explosives 2015-2016, the premises are arranged in postcode order.
|MSER||Trading name||Status||Address||Nature and quantity of explosives||Expiry date|
|23||Royal National Theatre||1 Year||Royal National Theatre, South Bank, London, SE1 9PX||Theatrical pyrotechnics (<250kg)||30/10/17|
|2||The Old Vic||1 Year||103 The Cut, London, SE1 8NB||Theatrical pyrotechnics (<250kg)||30/10/1|
|8||Tesco||1 Year||Kennington Lane, London, SE11 5QU||Retail fireworks (<250kg)||30/10/18|
|16||Gordon Newsagents||1 Year||505 Norwood Road, London, SE27 9DL||Retail fireworks (<250kg)||30/10/17|
|36||John Rigby & Co (Gun Makers ) Ltd||1 Year||13-19 Pensbury Place, London, SW8||Small arms ammunition (<250kg)||30/10/17|
|31||B’s Balloons||All Year Round||388 Norwood Road, London, SE27 9AA||Retail fireworks (<250kg)||30/10/17|
|19||McKays Hardware||1 Year||17 New Park Road, London, SW2 4DU||Retail fireworks (<250kg)||30/10/17|
|6||Tesco||1 Year||13 Acre Lane, London, SW2 5RS||Retail fireworks (<250kg)||30/10/18|
|35||Sainsbury's||5 Years||2 Tulse Hill, London, SW2 2TP||Retail fireworks (<250kg)||30/10/20|
|18||Lidl||1 Year||71-73 Acre Lane, London, SW2 5TN||Retail fireworks (<250kg)||30/10/17|
|28||Tesco||1 Year||128 Clapham Common South Side, London, SW4 9DF||Retail fireworks (<250kg)||30/10/18|
|37||Tesco||1 Year||384 Streatham High Road, London, SW16 6HP||Retail fireworks (<250kg)||30/10/17|
|10||Sainsbury's||5 Years||133 Clapham High Street, London, SW4 7SL||Retail fireworks (<250kg)||30/10/20|
|24||Treohans||1 Year||56-58 Abbeville Road, London, SW4 9NF||Retail fireworks (<250kg)||30/10/17|
|38||Sainsbury's||1 Years||2 Tulse Hill, London, SW2 2TP||Retail fireworks (<250kg)||30/10/17|
|34||Lidl||1 Year||187 – 194 Clapham Road, London SW9 0QE||Retail fireworks (<250kg)||30/10/17|
|14||Sainsbury's||5 Years||480 Streatham High Road London, SW16 3PY||Retail fireworks (<250kg)||30/10/20|
|17||Lidl||1 Year||222-224 Streatham High Road, London, SW16 1BB||Retail fireworks (<250kg)||30/10/17|
|39||Shoopers Delight||1 Year||Astoria Parade, London, SW16 1PR||Retail fireworks (<250kg)||30/10/17|
|40||Morrison's||1 Year||148-154 Streatham High Road, London, SW16 1GB||Retail fireworks (<250kg)||30/10/17|