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Farmers warned of photo ID rules when ordering fertilisers this autumn

Farmers have been told to brace for changes in the law which will require them to provide photo ID when purchasing ammonium nitrate (AN) fertilisers from October.

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.


The Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC), the UK’s agri supply chain trade association, has raised concerns over the implications of the new rule.


Jo Gilbertson, AIC’s head of fertiliser, said: “The government has failed to understand how ammonium nitrate products are bought and sold within agriculture.


“Fertiliser orders are often made by farmers 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."


She added: “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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