Explosive Liaison Officers from the Firearms and Explosives Licensing Section are responsible for the administration and enforcement of the following legislation.
They are appointed as Inspectors under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 for this purpose.
Explosives Regulations 2014 (ER2014)
These new regulations came into force on the 1 October 2014. They deal with how suitable a person or corporate body is to possess and store explosives.
Any person or body that wishes to acquire and/or keep any explosive that is deemed to be 'security sensitive' will need an appropriate certificate.
It will need to be issued under these regulations, for the storage of certain quantities of explosives a Licence to Store may be required. For example, black powder, blasting explosives or detonators,
Applications for explosives certificates and licences must now be made on the relevant new style application forms.
The main users of explosives and therefore those who require licensing are:
- Sporting and social use - muzzle loading weapons, re-enactment events
- Mines and quarries - use explosives for breaking up rock and displacing large quantities or earth
- Demolition - demolishing buildings
- Oil industry - cutting, sealing and capping.
There are two types of Explosives Certificates:
Acquire Only - this is issued to permit a person or corporate body to obtain explosives which are used straight away and are not kept overnight.
Acquire and Keep - this is issued to allow a person or corporate body to obtain explosives and keep them in an approved storage place.
Both of these certificates are valid for up to five years.
Form ER 4 - Company / Club / Society applicants.
Form ER 4A - Individual applicants only (Firearms / Shot Guns / Re-enactment).
Form ER 4B - Application for coterminous renewal of black powder certificate with a firearm or shot gun certificate.
Police licensed storage places (www.hse.gov.uk/explosives/) gives the requirements for the safe and secure storage of all explosives.
In respect of the storage of any explosive for which a certificate under ER 2014 is required, the licensing and enforcing authority is the Chief Officer of Police in the area where the storage takes place.
When explosives are to be stored in quantities for which these regulations specify that a license must be in place, any application must be made to the police on an application for a storage licence Form ER 2B under the Explosives Regulations 2014.
Fees and/or advice
Advice on explosive matters or the current fees relevant to applications can be obtained from an Explosive Liaison Officer. They can be contacted through your local Firearms and Explosives Licensing Department.
Explosive certificates previously issued under the former Control of Explosives Regulations 1991 will continue to remain in force until the date of their expiry or until they are varied or revoked by the Chief Officer of Police.
Explosive registrations and licences previously issued under the former Manufacture and Storage of Explosives Regulations 2005 will remain in force until the date of their expiry.
It will also remain until they are varied or revoked by the Chief Officer of Police.
Recipient Competent Authority documents (RCA) issued under the former Placing On the Market and Supervision of Transfers of Explosives Regulations 1993 will continue to remain in force until the date of their expiry.
It will also until they are revoked by the Health and Safety Executive.
Recipient Competent Authority and the Transfer of Explosives
From the 1st of March 2022, all new acquire and keep explosives certificates issued by Police Scotland will include a Recipient Competent Authority (RCA) which will authorise, in certain conditions of the transportation explosives as prescribed (see below for more details).
From this date, there will no longer be a requirement for new acquire and keep explosives certificates to apply for the RCA document from the Health and Safety Executive.
Further information is provided below in respect to the movement of explosives within Great Britain.
What is a transfer of explosives?
A transfer means the physical movement of explosives from one place to another. Moving explosives within a site (such as a factory, mine, quarry or construction site) is exempt from the Regulations.
There are some prohibitions concerning the transfer of relevant explosives (those which require an explosives certificate to acquire or acquire and keep). These prohibitions are covered in regulation 31 of the Explosives Regulations 2014.
Before any civil explosives are transported, the receiver of the explosives must obtain approval for the transfer.
Many civil explosives will also be relevant explosives, which are explosives for which an explosives certificate is required.
Who does the regulation 8 apply to?
The regulation applies to anyone who transfers (moves from one place to another) explosives, be they individuals or companies.
Does the regulation apply to all explosives?
Regulation 8 applies to the transfers of ALL explosives which have been, or would be classified in accordance with the UN recommendations as falling within class 1– except:
- ammunition, the acquisition of which is regulated or prohibited by virtue of the Firearms Act 1968-1997
- pyrotechnic articles, including explosives articles in airbags and seat belt pre-tensioners
- explosives intended for lawful use by the police or armed forces
- explosives seized by customs officers, police, local authority, HSE or ONR
- the components of small arms ammunition when being transferred for the recipient's private use. (The commercial transfers of components of small arms ammunition are subject to the transfer controls.)
What transfer document do I need?
There are two types of transfer document which may be required for the transfer of explosives.
For domestic transfers of civil explosives within the UK a Recipient Competent Authority document (RCA) is required.
For transfers of civil explosives from outside the UK into GB you will require a GB transfer approval. This is not dealt with by Police. More information is available on the Existing GB products: transfer to GB BPR.
Please note that you may require both documents dependent on circumstances.
Domestic transfers covered by an RCA document
In England, Wales and Scotland, from the 1st of March 2022, all new explosives certificates (acquire and keep) issued by the police should include an RCA document. If an RCA was not included with your explosives certificate, you should contact your police explosives liaison officer directly by telephone, or you can email ExplosivesLicensingScotland@scotland.police.uk.
Your RCA document will include the UN Numbers of the explosives shown on your explosives certificate. It will also include the UN Numbers for those explosives to which the transfer requirements apply but which do not require an explosives certificate to acquire and keep (e.g. smokeless powder) that you have indicated on your application form. The RCA document's expiry date will be the same as the expiry date on your explosives certificate.
The Regulations require you to keep the RCA document or a certified copy for a period of three years from completion of the transfer. In practice, this normally means three years after expiry of the RCA document.