Explosives licence

In most cases where an individual or business is acquiring, keeping, transferring, storing or manufacturing explosives, an explosives licence is required from the relevant authority. Across the West Midlands, we are responsible for granting an explosive licence.

For details on the types of licence, costs, general guidance and how to apply, please scroll down.

It is important that you read all the guidance and ensure you complete the correct forms for your application.

What is an Explosives Licence?

An explosives licence is a document that allows the holder to store and/or manufacture explosives. The holder of an explosives licence is the person that makes sure its conditions are being met.

The easiest way to apply for an explosive licence is to complete our downloadable application form, then submit it via the form at the bottom of this page. If you’re applying for the first time for your premises, part of the process includes an inspection by one of our officers. Our guidance notes answer some of the most frequently asked questions, so please read them thoroughly before you start to apply.

You should only use our application form if you want to store less than 2000kg of explosives, and it should not be used to store the explosives listed in Note 1 of the guidance notes.

Further information is available from the Health and Safety Executive website. For queries, e-mail administration@wmfs.net.

The Licence Types Available

There are two main license applications. One for a standard storage license WITHIN prescribed periods, up to 2000kg. The second is an additional application required for a licence for sales ALL year round, again up to 2000kg.

For applications requiring more than 2000kg of storage, this is done through the Health and Safety Executive. More details on licence types and how to apply with them if you need to can be found on the Health and Safety Executive website.

In addition to the licence application forms, the following documents must ALSO be submitted with the application form:

  • You should include a plan to a scale that suitably shows the location of your site in relation to its surroundings. If your site doesn’t have a postal address, the scale should normally be a minimum of 1:25000.
  • Where stores are identified as needing to maintain separation distances, you should also include an Ordnance Survey site plan (or similar.) This should include the location of the store and distances to any neighbouring buildings. The plan should 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.
  • Where applicants are planning to store or display more than 12.5kg of fireworks on a shop floor, you’ll need to include 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.

Guidance

Here is some general guidance around applications and suitability for storage of explosives.

You may also find the following documents useful to aid identifying storage limits based on your premises, application guidance, staff safety guidance and fireworks storage checklists and stock sheets.

Fireworks Storage Flowchart
A flowchart showing where and how to store goods dependant on type, size and quantity. 1.0 Download

Fireworks Storage Flowchart
A flowchart showing where and how to store goods dependant on type, size and quantity. 1.0 Download

Guide for retailers and their staff on the safe storage and sale of fireworks 1.0 Download

Fireworks Storage Safety Checklist
Guide to general firework storage and how to keep your storage areas safe 1.0 Download

Document for tracking explosives goods inventory 1.0 Download

General application guidance:

It’s your responsibility to ensure you’re aware of, and comply with, the Explosives Regulations 2014. As the local licensing authority for explosive licences, we have the power to stop the storage of explosives at a site should it no longer be suitable. We can also take enforcement action where the terms of an explosives licence are not being met.

For those supplying fireworks outside the normal permitted periods, you’ll also need to make a separate application for a licence to comply with the Fireworks Regulations 2004. This doesn’t apply if you’re selling around New Year, Chinese New Year, October 15th-November 10th and Diwali.

General Information
  1. Our online applications CANNOT 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 available from the Health and Safety Executive

  1. Only use our online applications if you want to store less than 2000kg of explosives. For any premises that needs to store more than 2000kg of explosives, you should apply to the Health and Safety Executive for a licence.
  2. Feel free to continue onto a separate sheet(s) or document(s) if there isn’t enough room. If you do use additional sheets, remember to put your name and address at the top of each page.
  3. You do not need to include previous convictions that are ‘spent’ as per the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. Where the application involves a corporate body or company, the convictions of all directors should be listed. Information on how we consider the relevance of previous convictions to an application for a licence is on the Health and Safety Executive website.
Separation distances
  1. Depending on how much explosive material you plan on storing, you may also need to maintain ‘separation distances.’ Further information on separation distances in available in Regulation 27 of the Explosives Regulations 2014. Normally, if you’re storing less than the following quantities on one site you won’t be expected to maintain separation distances: HT1 or HT2- 0.1kg; HT3 (or a combination of HT3 and HT4) – 25kg; HT4 – 250kg. Not sure about whether you need separation distances? Get in touch and we can advise you.
Accompanying Documents
  1. You should include a plan to a scale that suitably shows the location of your site in relation to its surroundings. If your site doesn’t have a postal address, the scale should normally be a minimum of 1:25000.
  2. Where stores are identified as needing to maintain separation distances, you should also include an Ordnance Survey site plan (or similar.) This should include the location of the store and distances to any neighbouring buildings. The plan should 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.
  3. Where applicants are planning to store or display more than 12.5kg of fireworks on a shop floor, you’ll need to include 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 the explosives.
  5. Don’t forget to make your payment after submitting the application and plans.
Hazard type and quantity
  1. As part of the application, we need to know the hazard type and quantity of the explosives you wish to store. Contact your supplier if you’re not sure about the hazard types of explosives you wish to store.
  2. ‘Quantity’ refers to the net mass of explosives, i.e. the weight without packing, casing, etc.
Data protection and accuracy
  1. The information you supply may be stored electronically, and where appropriate be shared with other relevant bodies. Any information gathered may constitute ‘personal data’ as defined in the Data Protection Act 2018. Personal data is processed according to the requirements of the Act. Should you wish to, you’re able to request a copy of any personal information and have any inaccuracies corrected.
  2. It is an offence under Section 33 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to provide false information. Incomplete or inaccurate information could also result in delays to your application being processed.

Explosive Licence Charges

New storage and sales licences (within prescribed periods)

Under 250kg nec1 year£109
Above £250kg nec1 year£185

Renewal storage and sales licences (within prescribed periods)

Under 250kg nec1 year£54
Above 250kg nec1 year£86

Licence for all year round sales

Selling Licence1 year£500

We accept payments via online bank transfer, or by credit/debit card on our website. Once your application has been reviewed and approved in principle by our administration team, you will be sent a link to pay for your licence before it is issued.

Application Process

  1. To make your application you should complete the application form for standard storage (if you plan to sell all year round, you should ALSO include the application form for this too as they are separate).
  2. You should also complete your scale drawings where applicable, as per the guidance notes.
  3. Once you have completed these in full and reviewed our storage limit and retailer guidance documents, please complete the basic form below and attach your application documents where indicated.

Once your application has been reviewed, if accepted in principle, you will be emailed a link to make payment for your licence via our website. You should not try to make any payment using our website unless sent a link to do so.

For additional help or guidance around your application please email administration@wmfs.net

Here are the application forms available to download and complete, you can then attach them to the electronic form below:

ER1 Standard Explosives Licence Application
Application for explosives storage licence within prescribed periods. 1.0 Download

Application form for all year round storage and sales of explosives 1.0 Download

Is this an application for a new license or a renewal?



Upload your standard explosives licence application here:

Upload your scale plan of your premises here:

If you plan to sell fireworks all year round, please upload your additional form here (only if applicable):

You can upload any additional documents here (if applicable):

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