On 23rd January 2023, the Home Office laid the Control of Explosives Precursors and Poisons Regulations 2023 to further tighten the controls in place for explosives precursors and poisons to prevent the illicit use of these substances. A full consultation – including with sectors affected by the proposed regulations – was undertaken before the regulations were laid. A summary of the consultation responses was published in Annex A of the impact assessment which was laid alongside the regulations: The Control of Explosives Precursors and Poisons Regulations 2023 (legislation.gov.uk)
From 1st October, ammonium nitrate above 16% nitrogen content will be a regulated explosives precursor under the Poisons Act 1972. Ammonium nitrate has a history of being used in improvised explosive devices in the UK and overseas.
Businesses and professional users, including farmers, will not require a licence to be able to buy or use ammonium nitrate above 16% nitrogen content. However, the 2023 regulations require suppliers to take additional steps to verify the legitimacy of the professional user or business they are selling a regulated substance to. This is in order to prevent sales of potentially dangerous precursors to those seeking to use them for illicit purposes and to provide a further opportunity for businesses to identify any potentially suspicious transactions. There is evidence of individuals trying to obtain substances in the Poisons Act by passing themselves off as businesses and bypassing the regulations.
Before selling a regulated substance to a business customer, the person making the sale must obtain certain information about the business customer they are selling to. This includes requesting a form of photographic ID. Further guidance on this requirement can be found here: Supplying explosives precursors and poisons - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
These requirements apply to all businesses selling any regulated substance to another business.