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Explosives licensing

All explosives certificates are issued in accordance with the Explosives Regulations (ER) 2014.  Please allow 12 weeks for your application to be processed.

All explosives certificates are issued in accordance with the Explosives Regulations 2014 (opens in a new window) which states all regulations that must be followed when manufacturing, handling or storing explosive materials. A  free explosives guidance booklet (opens in a new window) is available to download from the Health and Safety Executive website.

The two main types of explosive certificate are:

  • Acquire Only (EXA) - this allows you to acquire a defined amount of explosives (e.g. one kilogram) from an approved supplier and use it on that day. Any unused explosive must either be returned to the supplier or destroyed in an approved manner.
  • Acquire and Keep (EXK) - this allows you to stores explosives at a location for the duration of the certificate. The maximum amount of explosives that may be stored will depend on the nature of the explosives and the construction of the store. A Registered Competent Authority document (RCA) allowing you to transport the explosives is issued as part of the explosive certificate.


For the majority of explosives certificates there is no fee for either an EXK or an EXA. However, if explosives are to be stored above a certain quantity or for a certain amount of time then a fee is sometimes chargeable. The fee due can vary considerably being dependant on hazard type, the length of storage and the amount stored (normally above 15kg).

Please contact the unit if you believe you may have to pay a fee.

Please be aware that any fee paid under the explosives regulations is paid in advance for the work done by the unit and is not normally refundable even if a certificate is refused.



Should be used for applications to store between 15kg and 2000kg of explosives.  In certain circumstances, depending on the hazard type and the amount of explosives to be kept, it may be necessary for the store to be either registered or licensed.

If you know this to be a case, please download the form below. If you are not sure, please contact the unit for advice. A fee is normally charged for registered or licensed stores.

If you wish to store more than 2000kg of explosives, you should make your application to the Health and Safety Executive.


Should be used by:

Clubs, Societies or anybody corporate.

Explosives that are not used in firearms or shotguns.

Individuals who are not covered by the criteria for a ER4a.


Should be used by individuals:

For their own use in their Firearms or Shotguns.
For the possession of black powder/gunpowder at re-enactment events.


If you are renewing an explosives certificate, either Acquire Only (EXA) or an Acquire and Keep (EXK) and at the same time renewing a firearm or shotgun certificate or renewing a registered firearms dealership you may use a ER4b.

This form cannot be used to change explosive certificate type from an EXA to and EXK (or vice versa).

Storage guidance

  • Powder must be in containers with no more than 1KG per container and to a Maximum of 15 kg in total.
  • The containers must not be metal. Plastic/polythene or paper/cloth are suitable. Care is required to ensure where plastic is used that it does not induce static electricity.
  • The containers must be kept in a box constructed of plywood with a minimum thickness of 18 mm, or a material of equal or greater fire and physical resistance to attack.
  • The box must be constructed to provide 30% additional height between the top of the container and the inside of the lid.
  • If the box is to hold more than one container of powder, the interior must be divided by 6mm wooden partitions securely fixed to the walls of the box.
  • An intumescent strip should be fitted around the lid.
  • The box must not be stored in any box, drawer, locker or cupboard made of metal.  

Locating the box for storage

  • The box should not be stored within, on or under any means of access or escape.
  • The box should not be kept in the same room as flammable liquids or in any areas where there is a risk of fire. 

Security of the box

  • The box must be kept in either a secured room or other suitably secured place.
  • Where this is not possible, as a minimum requirement the box must have securely fixed robust hinges, and a secure hasp using a security grade padlock.


Please note that the forms on this page were produced by the Health and Safety Executive.  Please see their accessibility disclaimer (opens in a new window).

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