25 Jul 2023
by Oli Hill, Jo Gilbertson

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
  • AIC 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) fertiliser this autumn, 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 effectively be barred from placing orders of AN fertiliser as of 1 October 2023, unless they can first submit photo ID to their supplier.

Law updated

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 at or 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.

Threat to AN fertiliser accessibility

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 are better understood by farmers across the UK, making sure that they are well prepared for the changes.”

For further information and queries on the Control of Poisons and Explosives Precursors Regulations 2023, contact the Home Office’s Chemical Reporting Team at [email protected].

Notes for editors 

The Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) is the UK’s leading trade association, representing agricultural supply chain sectors including arable marketing, crop protection, agronomy, feed, fertiliser, and seed. 

Formed in 2003, AIC has over 230 Members in the agri-supply trade which are responsible for £9 billion of annual farm trade.  

AIC is marking 20 years as the leading voice of the UK agri-supply industry, working in support of modern, sustainable, commercial agriculture. Visit the website to find out more.

Political lobbying and policy influencing is a major part of its work, as well as supporting Members with technical information.  

AIC Services, which is the professional services arm of the AIC, manages a range of services, including Assurance Schemes recognised by UK government as essential tools to underpin feed and food safety alongside fertiliser security. These include:  

Visit the AIC website to find out more.

Press contact 

Oli Hill, Communications Manager, AIC 

+44 (0)1733 385230

[email protected]


Oli Hill

Oli Hill

Communications Manager, AIC

As Communications Manager, Oli creates and oversees the content published on AIC's website, emails, Member briefings, print publications, and social media.

A qualified multimedia journalist, he previously spent six years working at Farmers Weekly magazine as a Senior Reporter on the arable team, and latterly as Community Editor. More recently he was Communications Manager at Red Tractor.

[email protected]
01733 385230

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Jo Gilbertson

Jo Gilbertson

Head of Fertiliser, AIC

Jo Gilbertson is AIC’s Head of Fertiliser and is based at our Head Office in Peterborough.

Jo is responsible for the management and co-ordination of all matters relating to the production and distribution of fertilisers on behalf of Members.

Graduating with a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Health, he has additional post graduate qualifications in air pollution control, health and safety, advanced negotiation skills, and quality assurance management.

Jo has previously worked in local government as an environmental health officer, before spending 17 years in senior management roles in Tesco, handling legal and governmental affairs, and latterly managing a business unit in their corporate marketing department.

[email protected]
01733 385278

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