The UK continues to be a target for terrorists and terrorist groups so access to the hazardous substances and chemicals they could use to make explosives (known as precursors) must be restricted as much as possible.
Standard commercially available products such as some fertilisers and hair bleach contain precursors, so there is a need to be aware of stock and which substances need to be monitored.
Know your customer
If you sell precursor chemicals or poisons, you must be vigilant to suspicious transactions and follow the regulatory requirements, more information is available in the ‘Know your customer’ leaflets.
If you store certain fertilisers or hazardous materials in particular amounts, you should be aware that you may need to:
notify the appropriate authorities
follow the regulatory requirements for storing fertiliser produced by the Health and Safety Executive
follow the guidelines for storing hazardous materials securely, further information is below
Selling precursor chemicals or poisons
Your customers must hold a licence to buy certain precursor chemicals or poisons known as an explosives precursors and poisons or EPP license.
As a seller of precursor chemicals, you don’t need the EPP licence.
For a list of the regulated substances, and your responsibilities if you sell them, see the guide on Supplying explosives precursors.
If you work in a laboratory, you can contact your local counter terrorism security adviser (CTSA) to find out about Project Revise which raises awareness about the potential threat these chemicals present and advises on how to secure access to them.
Chemical, biological and radioactive materials
There are concerns that terrorists might use chemical, biological and radioactive (CBR) materials as weapons. Owing to the difficulty of obtaining CBR materials and the complexity of using them effectively, much of CBR-related criminal activity has involved hoaxes and false alarms.
Pathogens and toxins legislation
Legislation exists to enhance the security of certain pathogens and toxins in particular the most dangerous material (such as anthrax or ricin). Legislation includes:
Part 7, Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001
Schedule 5 - the full list of these pathogens and toxins of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 (please note there are outstanding changes to take place on this site)
Security of Pathogens and Toxins (Exceptions to Dangerous Substances) Regulations 2002
If your site holds or intends to hold material listed on Schedule 5 of the Anti-terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001, you must notify the Home Office, and a site visit by the relevant CTSA will be arranged. The CTSA will conduct a survey and provide security advice and guidance.
Qualifying sites must be able to demonstrate that they are operating securely before they are granted authority by NaCTSO (on behalf of the Home Office).
Personnel security will also need to be demonstrated. You need to conduct pre-employment screening. Check the advice from NPSA on personnel security.
If you are holding any pathogens or toxins or have any questions, please contact your local CTSA.
If you have certain radioactive materials on your site, you must take the security measures as required by the conditions of your licence.
CTSAs act as site security advisers to the environment agencies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. A CTSA will inspect your site to ensure you adhere to these measures. Failure to meet the requirements may result in action being taken against you.
This procedure also applies if you have:
sealed radioactive sources (for example high-activity sealed sources, such as those used in universities, hospitals and industrial establishments)
mobile units designed for off-site use (such as equipment for radiography or well-logging)
The measures do not apply to nuclear or radioactive sources within military and defence programmes or those materials on licensed civil nuclear sites.
The security of radioactive material is regulated by the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 and the Environmental Permitting Regulations (England and Wales) 2010.