Photo ID required to buy ammonium nitrate from October

Farmers, growers and buying co-operatives are being warned about an impending change in the law which will require them to provide photo ID when purchasing ammonium nitrate fertilisers from 1 October 2023.

According to the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC), the Home Office has updated its list of substances covered by the Control of Poisons and Explosives Precursors Regulations 2023 to include ammonium nitrate (AN) with a nitrogen content of 16% or more.

This also applies to compounds, blends and mixtures such as NPK.

See also: Rule reminder – how to store fertiliser safely

The new rules mean that anyone supplying such products will need to verify the legitimacy of the individual or business making the purchase, says the AIC, which is likely to include photo ID.

AIC head of fertiliser Jo Gilbertson said: “While we will always support efforts to further minimise the public safety risks of fertiliser falling into the wrong hands, the government has failed to understand how ammonium nitrate products are bought and sold within agriculture.

“Fertiliser orders are often made by farmers and growers over the phone, not over a shop counter, making it impractical to meet the new requirement to show a passport, driving licence or other photo ID.

“AIC is concerned that unless farming customers can show distributors their photo ID, they legally will not be able to place an order from October.”

He said AIC will be working with farming unions to help farmers prepare for the changes.

In response, the Home Office said it recognised that farmers use various chemicals for a wide range of legitimate uses, but it was not minded to make any concessions.

“It is our responsibility to ensure that our robust controls of these substances are updated and controls in place against those who wish to abuse them, including new obligations to ensure information is recorded when selling explosives precursors,” said a spokesman.

This meant, as well as photo ID, farmers will have to provide a business name and address, a statement of the nature of their trade, and a VAT registration number.

The photo may be sent by email and only needs to be fulfilled by one individual to represent an entire business every 18 months, not in every transaction.