Policy

Countering weapons proliferation

Supporting detail:

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.

Legislation

Contact Information

For information on DECCs chemical and biological non-proliferation work:

Email: cwcna@decc.gsi.gov.uk (for chemicals enquiries) btwc@decc.gsi.gov.uk (for biological enquiries)

Phone: +44 (0)300 068 5939 /or 5941 / 5925 / 5937

In writing:

  • Department of Energy and Climate Change
  • CWC UK National Authority
  • Room G.07
  • 3 Whitehall Place
  • London
  • SW1A 2AW

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