Application for explosives/fireworks licence

If you manufacture or store explosives, including fireworks, you need to apply for a licence. This page is designed to provide basic advice for traders on the Explosives Regulations 2014.

Explosives and fireworks

The Explosives Regulations 2014 (ER 2014) came into force on 1 October 2014. They have replaced the Manufacture & Storage of Explosives Regulations 2005 (MSER).

The types of explosives listed in the Regulations include:

  • Ammunition and shooters' powders
  • Blasting explosives
  • Fireworks
  • Gunpowder
  • Vehicle airbag detonators
  • Marine flares

Most business premises that store explosives (including fireworks) must be licensed by Trading Standards, Thames Valley Police or the Health & Safety Executive, depending on the amount and explosive type. Trading Standards principally licence fireworks storage, including small arms ammunition where separation distances can be met and do not specifically require an explosives certificate.

Selling and storing fireworks

With a licence, the above legislation permits you to store up to 2000kg (with strict conditions and separation distances) net mass of Hazard Type 4 fireworks.

Retailers will require a licence to store up to 250kg (no separation distances are required for this quantity).

Most fireworks sold in retail premises are labelled 1.4G on their transit boxes and are classified as Hazard Type 4. You are reminded that this is the maximum quantity that you may store and includes both the amount held on a shop floor sales area as well as in stock rooms or other storage areas. In some circumstances, you will not be able to keep this amount for safety reasons and a reduced amount must then be kept. 

If you store larger fireworks that are labelled on their transit boxes as 1.3G, these are classified as Hazard Type 3. If you store any Hazard Type 3 fireworks, the quantity that may be stored is reduced and rules for storage are different to those detailed in this guidance. You will need to contact us for further advice.

If you store between 250kg and 2000kg net mass of Hazard Type 4 fireworks, then you will need to apply to Trading Standards for a larger storage licence.  Again, the quantity that may be stored and rules for storage are different to those detailed here, so you will need to contact us for further advice.

The quantities are often marked on the outer packaging but if you are in any doubt as to the Hazard Type you should seek advice from your supplier, as responsibility to store in a safe manner and within permitted quantities rests with the licence holder.

If you store less than 5kg of explosives, then there is no need to register or be licensed.

You will need to apply for a separate (additional) all year fireworks licence if you intend to supply or expose for supply fireworks other than during the following periods:

  • On the first day of the Chinese New Year and the three days immediately preceding it
  • On the day of Diwali and the three days immediately preceding it
  • During the period beginning on 15 October and ending on 10 November; or
  • During the period beginning on 26 December and ending on 31 December

Please note that in addition to an explosives storage licence any person intending to supply fireworks or expose for supply fireworks all year round also requires an Application for Annual Supply Licence for Fireworks.

The full guidance applies to all sectors of the explosives industry and may be downloaded free of charge from the HSE website.

The licence is granted to a person (or company) and not to the site.

How much does it cost?

The current statutory fees for explosive licensing can be found on the HSE website but are reproduced below. 

You should refer to Regulation 27 and Schedule 5 of the regulations to determine the minimum separation distance you need to observe when storing your fireworks. This will determine the fee you will need to pay.  If you need assistance with this please contact the team for advice.

Cost of licence

Explosive Licence fee 2024-5

How do I apply?

To apply for either licence please complete the application form (link below) and if you wish to pay by cheque, please make it payable to Milton Keynes Council and send it to: 

Licensing Team, Environmental Health and Trading Standards, Civic Offices, Saxon Gate East, Milton Keynes, MK9 3EJ or, for other payment options, contact the team on 01908 252800.

Download an Explosives Licence Application Form. Before completing the form, please read the guidance notes.

  • The information provided on this page is intended as guidance for businesses and should not be substituted for the full legislation

How to I make a complaint about a licensed retailer of explosives/fireworks?

If you have concerns about a retailer of explosives/fireworks, including the sale of fireworks to children, please report the matter to the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506. They will record your concerns and forward the information to Trading Standards.  NOTE  Call charges apply, click here to find out more.

Other useful sources of information