Secure hazardous materials to help prevent terrorism

How you must store precursor chemicals (including hydrogen peroxide or ammonium nitrate), toxins and radioactive materials on your premises.

This guidance was withdrawn on

For the latest, up to date versions of NaCTSO guidance, please visit This NaCTSO page is no longer updated.


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 you need to be aware of your stock and which substances you need to monitor.

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 authorites
  • 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

Find out more about about how to Secure your fertiliser.

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:


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 CPNI on personnel security.


If you are holding any pathogens or toxins or have any questions, please contact your local CTSA.

Radioactive materials


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.

Further information

Secure your fertiliser Securing hazardous materials documents and publications.

Published 24 November 2014
Last updated 17 September 2020 + show all updates
  1. Reviewed and last updated 17 September 2020.

  2. First published.