Safety Services


Controlled chemical licence

Some controlled chemicals require the person or organisation to have written permission - a licence to store, use or produce the chemical on their site.

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Who needs a chemical licence?

​As a university, UCL is approved to hold some controlled chemicals, without having an additional licence. This is because UCL is using then for the approved purpose of research and teaching however the two rules, safe storage and the reporting of any loss still have to be followed.​ 

For some chemicals, the supplier will only deliver to the person named on the licence​. In most cases, suppliers will ask for a copy of licence if it is required, however as a licence can take between 6 and 12 weeks to be issued you may wish to investigate if one is required.

The best place to find out if the chemical you are using in controlled is the legislation available on the government website.​

If you are uncertain which legislation, UCL Safety Services keeps a list but it is not definitive. There are over 500 chemicals listed including chemicals that are isotopes of one listed, if it has similar properties.​

Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)​

​The only chemical substance licence that is held by UCL rather than by the specific department, is the licence to use Schedule 2 and 3 chemicals listed under the Chemical Weapons Convention.​

UCL is required to complete an annual return of quantities held and specific details of these chemicals. This return is requested from the departments every December.​

Applying for a licence - drugs​

If you need to apply for a licence the first step should be to contact UCL Safety Services.​

​They hold the administration rights to the licencing website on which UCL is already registered as a legal body. ​

​When the licence requires a “Fit and Proper” person, a specific company has to carry out the enhanced disclosure and barring checks (DBS) within the last 3 years. Further information is held by Safety Services​

​Although UCL Safety Services administrate the use of licences of controlled chemicals for UCL, it is the responsibility of the person using the chemical to ensure the risk assessment is suitable and sufficient and that the conditions of licences including that the chemical, safe and securely stored are maintained. ​

​Safety Services has additional guidance on each type of controlled chemical and how to guide on whether a licence is needed and how to apply if it is. ​

Applying for a licence – explosives ​

If you need to apply for a licence the first step should be to contact UCL Safety Services to ensure that you are prepared to complete the application.

It will take a minimum of 6 weeks and involve a site visit​

​The licencing authority for explosive depends on where your site is for Bloomsbury Campus it is Metropolitan Police Firearms Enquiry Team (FET).​

​The application requires the following information​:

  1. A risk assessment listing the hazards associated with the particular believe that the licence will cover and the arrangements that he department will be putting in place to control those risks​
  2. The name, role and personal contact details of every person that will have access to the explosive ​

​The application has to be sent by post but the form can be downloaded at​


Last updated: Tuesday, June 23, 2020