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Licensing for home users of poisons and explosive precursors – GOV.UK

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Updated 19 May 2023

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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/licensing-for-home-users-of-explosives-precursors/licensing-for-home-users-of-poisons-and-explosive-precursors
Certain chemicals can be used in the illicit manufacture of explosives or to cause harm. Members of the public who want to import, acquire, possess or use these chemicals must have a valid explosives precursors and poisons (EPP) licence issued by the Home Office and an associated photographic identity document.
Any suspicious transactions or attempted transaction (business to consumer and business to business) of regulated substances and reportable substances must be reported.
Suspicious activity reports must be made using the online Report suspicious chemical activity service.
However, if you are unable to report in this way you can currently still make a report to the national contact point on 0800 789321.
Any significant disappearances or thefts of regulated substances and reportable substances must be reported within 24 hours to your local police force using 101 (or 999 in an emergency). Please include a reference to the Poisons Act in your report and if it is a regulated/reportable explosive precursor/poison.
A member of the public must provide a valid EPP licence and associated photo ID if they wish to buy or receive any regulated substances above the specified concentration limit.
Please note that under the Offensive Weapons Act 2019, sales of corrosives are restricted to those under 18. We will not process licence applications for people under 18 requesting substances restricted under the Offensive Weapons Act.
Concentration thresholds for regulated explosives precursors are listed alongside where appropriate:
Poisons are regulated at any concentration except where stated below:
It is an offence for a member of the public to import, acquire, possess or use any of the substances without holding a valid EPP licence issued by the Home Office.
If found guilty of this offence, there is a maximum penalty of 2 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine.
It is an offence to supply a member of the public any regulated substances if they do not hold a valid EPP licence issued by the Home Office.
If found guilty, there is a maximum penalty of 2 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine.
If you are supplying a member of the public with any regulated substances, please see the guidance for suppliers for more information.
The licence application process will take you through a series of questions to check whether you need to apply for an EPP licence. It will prompt you to have all the necessary documents to hand, such as proof of identity and address.
On receipt of your application and payment, the Home Office will conduct checks into your suitability, including criminal record and health checks.
Offences that might be considered relevant to these checks are listed in due diligence checks.
Once a decision on your application has been reached, the Home Office will write to you. If accepted, a licence will be posted to you separately.
Your application will be automatically refused if you apply for a substance where there are safer alternatives available for the use specified. This includes substances for unblocking pipes or most other cleaning purposes. You will not receive a refund.
Remember to check the advice for home users on the Poisons Act 1972 and the Control of Poisons and Explosives Precursors Regulations 2015.
You will need a credit or debit card to pay for your licence. Licence costs are outlined below:
All costs outlined above are non-refundable as fees reflect the processing and administration of licences.
The EPP licence will be valid for a maximum of 3 years. If the identity documentation provided during the application process is valid for a period of less than 3 years from the date the licence is granted, you will be required to re-apply for a licence once the documentation has expired.
Licence fees cannot be changed without parliamentary scrutiny.
The online application form will take you through the steps to see if you need a licence to import, acquire, possess or use explosives precursors and poisons.
Take note of the checklist of documents you need when applying for a licence.
Please check your application is correctly countersigned.
Start the application process for an explosives precursor and poisons licence.
EPP licences issued by the Home Office are not recognised in Northern Ireland. This change came into effect from 1 January 2021.
Because of these changes, you will not be able to use an EPP licence issued by the Home Office to import, acquire, possess or use explosives precursors in Northern Ireland. These changes apply to all current and future licence holders.
If you do wish to import, acquire, possess or use explosives precursors in Northern Ireland, you are required to apply for a Northern Ireland licence.
EPP licences can include substances classified as poisons. In Northern Ireland, poisons are the responsibility of the devolved administration. Should you wish to import, acquire, possess or use poisons in Northern Ireland you should contact the Medicines Regulatory Group.
Your licences will still be recognised as valid in England, Wales and Scotland.
You must amend your EPP licence if you:
As part of your licence conditions, you must contact the Home Office immediately by completing the online amendment application and returning your licence. Further instructions for returning your licence will be issued in the confirmation email upon completing your application.
Once both your amendment application form and licence have been received, the Home Office will endeavour to process your application within 28 days. You will receive an email once a decision on your application has been made. If accepted, a new licence will be posted to you separately.
You must notify the Home Office immediately if there has been any change in your mental health condition and/or a condition relating to substance misuse that may affect your ability to safely possess and use the substances specified on the licence.
If you receive a criminal conviction, you must inform the Home Office without undue delay. This includes motoring offences, binding overs, formal written warnings and cautions and convictions in or outside Great Britain. Details of parking offences and fixed penalty notices are exempt.
Please contact the Home Office EPP Licensing Unit at epp@homeoffice.pnn.police.uk if you wish to amend your contact details.
Amendments are free of charge.
Start the process to amend a licence.
As part of your EPP licence conditions you must inform the Home Office, without undue delay, of the theft, loss or destruction of your licence.
You must report any theft of your licence to the police if you wish to apply for a replacement. You will receive a police crime reference number, which you will need to complete your online application for a replacement licence.
If your licence has been damaged, you must return any remaining parts to the Home Office. Further instructions for returning your licence will be issued in the confirmation email upon completing your application.
The cost of a replacement licence is £25. You can pay by either debit or credit card. Once your online amendment application form and replacement fee been received, the Home Office will endeavour to process your application within 28 days. You will receive an email once a decision on your application has been made. If accepted, a licence will be posted to you separately.
Start the process to replace a licence.
EPP licences are valid for 3 years. But if, in your original application, you used an identification document that has an expiry date earlier than 3 years, you will be held to that expiry date instead.
We recommend you complete the online renewal application 8 weeks before the expiry date. After you have completed your online renewal application, returned your old licence and paid the renewal fee, the Home Office will begin the renewal process. Further instructions for returning your old licence to the Home Office will be issued in the confirmation email upon completing your application.
The cost of a renewal is £39.50. You can pay by either debit or credit card.
The Home Office will conduct checks into your suitability, including both criminal record and health checks. Offences that might be considered relevant to these checks are listed in our due diligence checks document.
You will receive an email once a decision on your application has been made. If accepted, a new licence will be posted to you separately.
Start the process to renew a licence.
If you do not advise the Home Office of any changes to your circumstances or the loss, theft or destruction of your licence, you are not complying with the licence conditions and your licence may be suspended or revoked. This could result in you being in breach of the Poisons Act 1972 and the Control of Poisons and Explosives Precursors Regulations 2015.
If you do not require or no longer want to import, acquire, possess or use your regulated substances, you are required to dispose of these substances appropriately.
As well as disposing of substances, you must return your licence to the Home Office as soon as possible. It is the responsibility of the licence holder to dispose of their regulated substances appropriately.
The Home Office recommends contacting your local council if you require the disposal of regulated substances.
Individuals in England and Wales can also use the Find a local hazardous waste disposal service – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
You do not need to provide a certificate of good conduct if you are a UK citizen.
All non-UK citizens require a certificate of good conduct. A certificate of good conduct is issued by the police in the country of your citizenship. It will provide details of your criminal record or show that you don’t have one.
If you are an EEA national (other than British) and also reside outside Great Britain, you will need to continually demonstrate your suitability to hold an EPP licence. Every 6 months, from the date your licence was issued, you must provide an updated certificate of good conduct.
Once your online certificate of good conduct application form has been received, the Home Office will endeavour to process your application within 28 days.
Before your 6-monthly certificate of good conduct is due to expire, the Home Office will send you an email reminder 3 months prior and confirm its renewal date. To ensure we receive your new certificate of good conduct on time, we recommend you submit it 1 month before the due date outlined in your email reminder.
The certificate will need to be scanned and ready to upload. If your scanned document is larger than 200KB, it will not be accepted by the online system.
Upload your certificate of good conduct.
If you are unable to continually demonstrate suitability to hold a licence, your licence may be suspended or revoked. This could result in you being in breach of the Poisons Act 1972 and the Control of Poisons and Explosives Precursors Regulations 2015.
All transactions must be recorded by the supplier on the back of your licence within the transactions table.
You are required to request additional transaction sheets from the Home Office if you run out of entries on the transactions table. Suppliers may refuse the sale of a substance if the transactions table on your licence does not allow for further entries.
Additional transactional sheets are provided free of charge. Once your request for additional transaction sheets has been received, the Home Office will endeavour to process your request within 28 days. You will receive an email confirming when the additional transaction sheets have been posted to you.
Request additional transaction sheets
On 26 March 2015, the Poisons Act 1972 was amended via the Deregulation Act 2015 and the Control of Poisons and Explosives Precursors Regulations 2015 were introduced to create a cohesive regime to control sales of explosives precursors and poisons.
The Poisons Act 1972 (Explosives Precursors)(Amendment) Regulations 2018 were introduced to make sulfuric acid a regulated explosives precursor. Offences relating to the acquisition, importation and supply of sulfuric acid above 15% weight by weight were effective from 1 July 2018. Offences relating to the possession and use of sulfuric acid above 15% weight by weight were effective from 1 November 2018.
The Control of Poisons and Explosives Precursors Regulations 2023 introduced new substances to the lists of regulated explosives precursors and poisons. Offences relating to the acquisition, importation, supply, possession and use of the following substances are effective from 1 October 2023:
For queries about licensing, please email epp@homeoffice.pnn.police.uk.
From 1 October 2023.  2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
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