Farmers warned of photo ID requirements when ordering fertilisers this autumn

  • Photo ID needed to purchase AN fertiliser from this October
  • Law change ahead of critical autumn campaign
  • Fears extra burden may impact UK food security

Farmers, growers and buying co-operatives must brace for changes in the law which will require them to provide photo ID when purchasing ammonium nitrate (AN) fertilisers from October, the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) has warned.

As the UK’s agri-supply trade association, which represents UK fertiliser and agronomy companies, AIC is raising concerns that tens of thousands of farming customers could be barred from placing orders of AN as of 1 October 2023 unless they can first submit photo ID to the retailer.

The Home Office has amended the Control of Poisons and Explosives Precursors Regulations 2023 to introduce new substances to the lists of regulated explosives precursors and poisons, including AN with a nitrogen content of 16% or more. This applies to compounds, blends and mixtures such as NPK fertiliser containing ammonium nitrate above the nitrogen content threshold.

The new rules mean businesses supplying regulated explosives precursors to professional users and other businesses will need to take additional steps to verify the legitimacy of the individual or business. The photo ID provided can be for anyone working for the farm business who is authorised to make the purchase.

Visit the GOV.UK website for full details of the forthcoming changes.

Jo Gilbertson, AIC’s Head of Fertiliser, 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 and we may see a situation where there is a de facto ban on AN fertiliser sales from October.

“AIC will be working with farming unions to ensure that the practicalities of this new legislation is better understood by farmers across the UK, making sure that they are well prepared for the changes.”

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