Statement on the handling and storage of Ammonium Nitrate in the UK

Ammonium Nitrate is used in certain fertilisers of which the UK is the world’s leading user. Following the tragic explosion at the Port of Beirut this week there has understandably been some local interest in the storage of products containing the chemical at UK warehouses, storage facilities and ports.

The UK has a comprehensive legislative regime for the storage of Ammonium Nitrate and there is a robust licensing process for those wishing to store the chemical and other potentially explosive products in the UK. These require a number of conditions to be met. Licenses are granted by either local authorities, the police, the Health and Safety Executive or the Office for Nuclear Regulation, depending upon the type of activity. 

Our colleagues at the industry safety and training body, Port Skills and Safety, have issued a useful guidance note on the requirements for the storage of Ammonium Nitrate at UK Ports, which provides further background. 

Separately where possible we have also been helping the UK Department for International Development who are working with port infrastructure and logistics resilience specialists and supporting the Lebanese Government’s recovery.

Our thoughts and best wishes are with the Port and City of Beirut during this very sad time.

Richard Ballantyne, Chief Executive, British Ports Association