The Chemical Weapons Convention
The UK is one of 188 countries that have ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the first arms-control treaty to introduce a verifiable ban on an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.
The CWC entered into force on 29 April 1997 and all Member States must agree to its provisions, which include:
- to chemically disarm by destroying all stockpiles of chemical weapons, any facilities which produced them and any old or abandoned chemical weapons from the past
- never to develop, produce, stockpile or use chemical weapons
- submit regular declarations to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on the production, processing, consumption, and import and export of certain dual-use chemicals
- allow the OPCW to carry out routine inspections on their territories
The OPCW is based in The Hague, and has the mandate to achieve the object and purpose of the CWC, which includes an international verification regime to build confidence between CWC States Parties.
UK CWC National Authority
DECC, as the UK CWC National Authority, is responsible for implementing the CWC throughout the UK, the Crown Dependencies and the Overseas Territories. Our powers to do this are contained in the Chemical Weapons Act 1996. The Act outlines the legal obligations on those producing, processing, consuming, importing or exporting certain toxic chemicals.
The UK CWC National Authority also takes part in efforts, led by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), to strengthen the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC).
As part of DECC’s role to safeguard and promote the peaceful use of chemicals the CWC UK National Authority:
- compiles annual declarations on UK chemical activity for the OPCW
- facilitates inspections between declared UK sites and the OPCW
- enforces the export and import licensing regulations, in co-operation with the Export Control Organisation
For full contact details please see the bottom of this page.
- The Chemical Weapons Act 1996
- The Chemical Weapons (Overseas Territories) Order 2005
- The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (Immunities and Privileges) Order 2001
- The Chemical Weapons Act 1996 (Commencement) Order 1996 (S.I. 1996/2054)
- The Chemical Weapons (Notification) Regulations 1996 (S.I.1996/2503)
- The Chemical Weapons (Notification) (Amendment) Regulations 2004
- The Chemical Weapons (Licence Appeal Provisions) Order 1996 (S.I.1996/3030)
- Isle of Man (S.I.1998/2794)
- Guernsey (S.I.2000/0743)
- Jersey (S.I.1998/2565)
- Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001
- Export Control Act 2002 – chapter 28
For information on DECCs chemical and biological non-proliferation work:
Phone: +44 (0)300 068 5939 /or 5941 / 5925 / 5937
- Department of Energy and Climate Change
- CWC UK National Authority
- Room G.07
- 3 Whitehall Place
- SW1A 2AW