Since the 1970s nitrogenous fertilisers have been misused in home made explosives. The UK is the heaviest user of ammonium and ammonium nitrate-based fertilisers in the world. The blending, storage, transport and use of fertilisers is commonplace; this creates opportunities for terrorists to acquire such material. 

If you store or handle fertiliser, you must secure it to prevent it from being stolen. This covers a range of people from importers and manufacturers to hauliers and agricultural contractors.

Regardless of the amount, it is your responsibility to take appropriate security measures and be vigilant.

You should think about: 

  • restricting access to the fertiliser or the building where it is stored
  • ensuring a trespasser would be visible if they carried out a crime
  • making the site as resistant as possible to criminal activity

These can be achieved by simple low-cost measures, such as storing your fertiliser in an enclosed secure barn or, if it is in an open-sided barn, covering it with a tarpaulin. You should also remove or trim hedges or bushes around the barn and keep gates locked.

Your local counter terrorism security adviser CTSA or Crime Prevention Officer CPO can inspect your property and advise on the best combination of physical security (for example, fencing) and appropriate procedures (for example, checking key lists). 

5-point plan

Follow this 5-point plan:

  1. Wherever possible use a Fertiliser Industry Assurance Scheme (FIAS) approved supplier.
  2. Wherever possible keep in a secure area such as a building or sheeted away from public view.
  3. Carry out regular stock checks and report any loss to the police immediately (call 101).
  4. Avoid leaving fertiliser in a field overnight – never leave fertiliser in field for a long period of time.
  5. Remember it is illegal to sell ammonium nitrate without the correct documentation

The NaCTSO Fertiliser Security Five Point Plan has been endorsed by the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC – FIAS), NFU and NFU Scotland, Assured Food Standards (Red Tractor), DEFRA and the HSE.

See also

Keep your Fertiliser Secure and out of Sight.pdf FIAS Fertiliser Security Flyer 1-10-2012.pdf AIC Fertiliser Safety Leaflet 2021.pdf