Today I am laying before both Houses a statutory instrument to strengthen the controls of explosives precursors and poisons in Great Britain.
Following the tragic Manchester Arena attack in 2017, the Government committed to enhance its capabilities to detect and prevent terrorist activity including that which involves the use of explosive precursors.
The Control of Explosives Precursors and Poisons Regulations 2023 will build on existing safeguards in the Poisons Act 1972 to prevent terrorist access to substances of concern, while ensuring that legitimate users of these products can still access them to pursue lawful activity. This regulation follows a public consultation which ran between December 2021-March 2022.
Around Great Britain, businesses and individuals use various chemicals for a wide range of legitimate use. Whilst we do not want to hinder this, we must minimise the risk posed by the illicit use of explosives precursors and poisons. Shops and business are already required to report suspicious activity on the sale, attempted sale, loss or theft of the most dangerous explosive precursors and poisons. Through this legislation, we are adding to the lists of reportable and regulated explosives precursors and poisons, improving the requirements for reporting suspicious activity, as well as providing additional obligations on online marketplaces. Businesses will also be required to record certain information when selling regulated explosives precursors to professional users. This will have minimal impact on businesses already required to report those chemicals and poisons liable to cause harm.
The measures will come into force on 1 October 2023. Guidance on these measures will be available on gov.uk in due course ahead of the regulations commencing on 1 October. A full Impact Assessment and Explanatory Memorandum will also be laid alongside the regulations in both Houses.