Farmers in Great Britain will need to provide photo identification (ID) to purchase certain ammonium nitrate (AN) fertiliser from October 1, this year.

The Control of Poisons and Explosives Precursors Regulations 2023 has introduced new substances to its list of regulated explosives precursors and poisons, one of which was ammonium nitrate above 16% nitrogen.

Substances are monitored on this list as they are deemed to have the potential to be included in the manufacture of explosives or to cause harm.

An explosives precursors and poisons (EPP) licence is required by members of the public to acquire these items, but not by businesses and professional end users if they are using the substance as part of their profession.

However, now as of October 1, these businesses and professional will need to verify their legitimacy to their supplier with photo ID, their name and address, a statement of their trade, business, profession or function, and their VAT registration number (if applicable).

Photo ID can include a passport, driving licence, trade identification card, business ID card.

Suppliers must record and retain this information for 18 months and have it available for inspection.

The suppliers must also asses whether they believe the intended use is reasonably consistent with the trade, business or profession.

This verification has to be done every time a new purchase is made. Or, if supplies are being bought frequently or on a routine basis, the customer needs to be verified every 18 months or if there is a change in normal purchasing patterns.

The Agricultural Industries Federation (AIC) has warned that this may cause issues for farmers and growers as they often place orders over the phone.

“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 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.

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

The National Famers’ Union has warned farmers to plan ahead of October 1.

“Farmers need to be aware of this new regulation so that they can work with their suppliers ahead of the need to purchase fertiliser after October 1,” NFU Crops Board chair Matt Culley said.

“The NFU has stressed the importance of ensuring additional measures such as this do not put barriers in place that disrupt a grower’s ability to purchase important crop nutrients, especially during times of urgency to get fertiliser on farm and applied within the appropriate timeframe,” he added.