Explosives - Licence / Registration
Generally speaking, anyone storing considerable quantities of explosives (such as small arms ammunition, shotgun cartridges, airbag detonators and fireworks) will require an explosives storage licence under the Manufacture and Storage of Explosives Regulations 2005 (MSER).
Amount and type of explosive
Licensing depends on the maximum quantity and type of explosives stored at any one time.
For the purpose of the regulations the amount of explosive is expressed in forms of the net mass of explosive. In other words, the amount of explosive in an article not including any packaging and casings. Sometimes the net mass of explosive is referred to as the net explosive quantity (NEQ) or net explosive content (NEC).
The type of explosive is categorised by hazard type, ranging from hazard type 1 to hazard type 4 (hazard type 1 being the most powerful). Adult fireworks will usually be classed as hazard type 4 explosives.
Normally, explosives packaging will be marked with the type and net mass of explosive. For fireworks, unless marked on the packaging, the net mass is assumed to be one quarter (25 per cent) of their total weight.
A storage licence is not required for the following small quantities of explosives:
- less than 15kg of small arms ammunition, or
- less than five kg of explosives which don't require an Explosives Certificate (adult fireworks, cartridges).
Above these amounts - up to 250kg net mass (for hazard type 4 explosives), a simplified form of licence known as registration is suitable. Registration is usual for typical retail storage of fireworks.
For quantities over 250kg - up to 2000kg net mass (hazard type 4), a storage licence is necessary. For quantities over 2000kg a licence issued by the Health and Safety Executive will be required.
You should note that your premises must be suitable for the amount of explosives you wish to store. In some cases, you may not be able to store the legal limit if you do not have appropriate storage arrangements or limited facilities.
In the case of licensed stores, these are subject to how far away you are from dwellings, roads, footpaths and railways. These distances depend on the amount and type of explosives stored.
Applying for a registration or licence
There is one common application form for either a registration or licence. Guidance for applicants is given on the last page of the form. You can download an application form from the related documents section.
Registrations can be renewed annually. Registrations and licences are not automatically transferable to another person - an application to transfer has to be made, giving at least 28 days' notice.
The common renewal date in Derbyshire is 1 October.
The current annual fees (2012/2013) set by the Government for explosives storage licences are:
- new registration - £105
- new licences - £178
- renewal registration - £52
- renewal licence - £83
- variation, transfer or replacement - £35
Applications for periods before the common renewal date of 1 October will be charged pro-rata on a whole month basis, in addition to the annual fee.
Send your fully completed application form together with a cheque for the appropriate fee (made payable to Derbyshire County Council) to:
Derbyshire Trading Standards Service
Your application will be considered, and, if approved, a Certificate of Licence or Registration will be issued.
We have the power to refuse or revoke explosives storage licences and registrations, if we have reason to consider that you are not fit to hold a licence, or if the storage arrangements are unsuitable.
You mustn't supply fireworks to anyone under the age of 18. If you do, you could face a fine of up to £5,000 and/or six months imprisonment.
You are required to display a statutory notice explaining this restriction to customers. You can get a copy of this notice from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (opens in a new window).
You can only supply fireworks at certain times of the year, unless you have an annual licence to sell fireworks.
The permitted sales periods are
- 15 October to 10 November.
- 26 December to 31 December.
- The first day of Chinese New Year and the three days preceding it.
- On the day of Diwali and the three days preceding it.
If you want to supply fireworks at any other time, you will need to apply for a separate Annual Firework Sales Licence, issued under the Fireworks Regulations 2004, for which the annual fee is £500.
An application form for an annual sales licence can be downloaded from the related documents section.
Please note that applications for annual licences to sell fireworks are subject to approval by a local authority committtee and may take up to four weeks to process.
These are only a brief summary of the laws relating to explosive storage and firework sales. You can contact us for more information.
The following documents are in Portable Document Format (PDF). You can download software to view PDF documents for free from the Adobe website (opens in a new window)
- Explosive Registration Storage Application Form (46KB)
- Annual licence for sale of fireworks application form (36KB)
- Manufacture and Storage of Explosives - Guidance for applicants for a licence or registration (135KB)