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Licensing of Explosives

If you wish to acquire and/or keep any explosive, you must first apply for an appropriate certificate.

Explosives covered under the Explosives Regulations 2014 can be used for commercial or leisure purposes.

You must be able to provide good reason for acquiring or keeping any explosive material.

For example you would need a certificate for:

  • sporting and social use: gunpowder (black powder) for shooting, such as muzzle-loading, shotguns and rifles, or at events where re-enactments of historical battles involve the use of muzzle-loading muskets and cannons
  • caving activities: explosives used to win rock or displace large quantities of rock underground
  • explosives for use in a commercial environment

Types of certificates 

Acquire Only 

For permission to obtain explosives which are to be used and not kept or stored overnight. The certificate is issued for up to five years.

All applicants applying for an explosives certificate to acquire only where the application is for a grant will be visited to ensure that they fulfil the criteria for a ‘fit and responsible person’.

Acquire and Keep

For permission to obtain explosives and to keep them in an approved place of storage. This certificate is issued for up to five years.

We will visit and inspect storage meets legal requirements before any ‘acquire and keep’ certificate is granted.

Application forms

If you are unsure which of the following forms to use, contact the Explosives Licensing team prior to application or renewal:

Explosives Certificate - Form ER4
  • For companies, clubs and societies, powder masters or users
  • Not applicable for personally held firearms and shotguns, or historic re-enactment

You must give good reason to support your application. If you have not provided enough detail, we will ask you for more information before a certificate is granted.

Apply for an Explosives Certificate - Form ER4

Explosives Certificate - Form ER4a
  • For individuals wishing to use black powder in their own firearms or shotguns, or for historic re-enactment events.
  • Use this form for an ‘acquire only’ or an ‘acquire and keep’ certificate for black powder
  • Not applicable to clubs, societies, or organisations or for any explosive other than black powder

You must give good reason to support your application. If you have not provided enough detail, we will ask you for more information before a certificate is granted.

Apply for an Explosives Certificate - Form ER4a

Renewal of an Explosives Certificate - Form ER4b
  • Should be used when renewing an explosives certificate at the same time as a firearm or shotgun certificate
Applications for renewal should be submitted 12 weeks before your expiry date.

If you are having difficulty viewing the application forms, download and install Adobe Acrobat Reader by visiting get.adobe.com/uk/reader

Related documents

  • PDF icon Form ER4 Application for an Explosives Certificate
    Last updated: 22 December 2016
  • PDF icon Form ER4a Application for an Explosives Certificate
    Last updated: 22 December 2016
  • PDF icon Form ER4b Application for Renewal of an Explosive Certificate for Blackpowder to be used in Firearms
    Last updated: 22 December 2016