Guidance

Manufacturing and marketing fertilisers if there's a no-deal Brexit

What manufacturers and importers of fertilisers need to do to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

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The UK is leaving the EU. This page tells you how to prepare for Brexit and will be updated if anything changes.

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Rules after Brexit

Most of the existing standards and rules that apply to manufacturing, importing and marketing fertilisers in the UK will stay the same.

There are currently 2 frameworks - a domestic and an EU framework - under which manufacturers can market their products. Manufacturers can also choose to market their products under the mutual recognition principle.

The current domestic framework allowing fertilisers to be sold in the UK will stay in place.

There will be changes to the EU framework in terms of:

  • material labelled ‘EC fertilisers’ sold in the UK
  • changes to the rules for the import of ammonium nitrate fertilisers for EU and non-EU countries

New ‘UK fertiliser’ label

A new ‘UK fertiliser’ label will replace the ‘EC fertiliser’ label for fertilisers sold in the UK.

You’ll have the option to use the new ‘UK fertiliser’ label for fertilisers placed on the UK market after Brexit. To use the ‘UK fertiliser’ label, you’ll need to meet the same standards required for the ‘EC fertiliser’ label. The words ‘UK fertiliser’ will appear on the material’s packages, labels and supporting documents.

You’ll be able to use the ‘EC fertiliser’ label during a 2-year transitional period after Brexit. Local authorities will continue compliance testing using their appointed agricultural analyst. The following laboratories can carry out testing according to their schedule of accreditation:

Trading with the EU and EEA

You’ll still be able to manufacture your products as ‘EC fertilisers’ and export to the EU/EEA, but you’ll need to make sure you meet EU standards. Manufacturers will need to be established within the EU.

If you export ammonium nitrate with a nitrogen content of more than 28% of its weight, you must use an approved EU laboratory to carry out detonation resistance testing.

The UK will no longer fall within the scope of the mutual recognition principle if there is a no-deal Brexit. Fertilisers will have to be marketed under either the domestic framework or the new ‘UK fertiliser’ label.

Ammonium nitrate imports

There will be changes to the rules for the import of ammonium nitrate fertilisers from EU and non-EU countries into Great Britain.

Northern Ireland’s ammonium nitrate import rules will not change.

This will affect solid ammonium nitrate fertilisers when the following applies:

  • a nitrogen content of more than 28% of its weight
  • in a consignment weighing 500 kilograms or more

The new rules will be the same for all countries if there is a no-deal Brexit.

To import ammonium nitrate, you’ll need to apply for a detonation resistance test (DRT) certificate issued by a UK-based competent laboratory accredited under standard ISO 17025.

Each certificate should relate to a sample from each production run batch. A ‘batch’ means the quantity of material manufactured without alteration of composition or characteristics, with a maximum batch run of 92 days.

You’ll also need to:

  • make sure that each batch, or part batch, arrives in Great Britain no more than 60 days after the DRT certificate is issued
  • email fertilisers@defra.gov.uk at least 5 days before the shipment arrives in Great Britain

You must keep the records of any batch or part batch and their DRT certificates for at least 2 years.

For imports from the EU, there will be a 2-year transitional period to introduce these changes after Brexit. For imports from non-EU countries (third countries), the 2-year transitional period will not apply.

Read more guidance on ammonium nitrate:

Published 11 March 2019
Last updated 21 October 2019 + show all updates
  1. Stay up to date section changed to reflect the latest deal status
  2. In the trading with the EU and EEA section changed 'You must use a laboratory on the EU Commission’s published list to carry out any required compliance testing.' to 'If you export ammonium nitrate with a nitrogen content of more than 28% of its weight you must use an approved EU laboratory to carry out detonation resistance testing.'
  3. Updated 'new 'UK fertiliser' label section
  4. First published.