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Solid Rocket Motor Licensing

In order to purchase and use Solid Rocket Motors in the U.K. you will require some legal documentation. This will usually consist of three separate documents:

  1. Registered Premises Storage Certificate.
  2. Acquire and Keep or Acquire Only Explosive Certificate.
  3. Recipient Competent Authority Transfer Document (RCA).

1. Registered Premises Storage Certificate.
It is a legal requirement that all explosive stores are registered, and most County Authorities delegate this to the Trading Standards Office or to the Fire Brigade. (Some County details can be checked on a separate page for relevant County contacts and telephone numbers).

You will require an application form from them. This form needs to be filled in with the type of store. For most people, this will be "Mode B". This will allow you to store up to 7 Kilograms of propellant in your home. Please check with your insurance company that they will still cover you. Most will with no additional premiums, since the Mode B classification also indicates that it is safe. As an example, it is far safer to store rocket propellant in a Mode B store, than just casually storing fireworks in a house every November, when people store fireworks for using on November the 5th, Bonfire Night.

You will also be asked on the form, what type of explosive is being stored, and this will be "Mixed".

You may be required to state what is being stored, and this will be Model Rocket Motors, UN.0349 and UN.0351. For some of the larger motors, Black Powder is required for the ejection charge, and this should also be listed as Black Powder, UN.0027 and UN.0028.

There is an annual fee to be paid and this varies slightly around the country, but £11.20 seems to be the current charge. The certificate is valid for one year, and this usually runs from September to September. Some authorities will only issue a certificate after inspecting the premises, and this visit is often arranged with the visit from the Police Explosives Officer.

2. Explosives Certificate.
This is obtained from the Explosives Liaison Officer of your Local Police. You will require an application form COER1. Acquire only/Acquire and Keep.

You will need to state that it is for Model Rocket Motors, UN.0349 and UN.0351, and also Black Powder, UN.0027 and UN.0028 for small ejection charges.

3. Recipient Competent Authority Transfer Document (RCA).
When you receive your explosives certificate (form COER3) from the Police, you will be able to apply for your RCA document. This is done by sending copies (not the originals) of both your Explosives certificate and your Registered Store certificate to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). A letter explaining that you are applying for a Recipient Competent Authority Transfer Document for Model Rocket Motors UN.0349 and UN.0351. If you have UN.0027 and UN.0028 on your licence, then these will be added to the RCA.

The RCA is issued free of charge and is valid alongside your explosives certificate. You will also find a lot of other UN numbers on the RCA, but these are applicable to other items you will need an RCA for during your rocketry activities.

The address for the HSE is:
  • Health and Safety Executive
  • SPD A2 Rose Court,
  • 2 Southwark Bridge,
  • London,
  • SE1 9HS.
  • Telephone: 020-7717-6205

We also recommend that you keep up to date with UKRA's legal advice