Manufacturing and marketing fertilisers if there is no Brexit deal

How manufacturers and importers of fertilisers can prepare for the rules and processes that will apply if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Rules from 29 March 2019

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.

There will also be changes to the rules for the import of ammonium nitrate fertilisers for EU and non-EU countries.

The following guidance explains what will be different.

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 as soon as the UK leaves the EU.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), in conjunction with the devolved administrations, will publish a new list of laboratories approved to test to the standards required for the new ‘UK fertiliser’ label. The laboratories and the ‘UK fertiliser’ product will need to meet the same standards currently required for the ‘EC fertiliser’ label.

To make sure supplies continue into the UK, you’ll still be able to use the ‘EC fertiliser’ label during a 2 year transitional period.

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.

You must use a laboratory on the EU Commission’s published list to carry out any required compliance testing.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the UK will no longer fall within the scope of the mutual recognition principle and fertilisers will have to be marketed under either the domestic or the new ‘UK fertiliser’ label.

Ammonium nitrate imports

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, 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:

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

The current import rules differ for EU and non-EU countries. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the new rules will be the same for all countries.

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, or every 92 days if the production run lasts longer.

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 DRTcertificates for at least 2 years.

For imports from the EU, there will be a 2 year transitional period to introduce these changes. This will allow importers time to prepare for the changes while continuing the supply of ammonium nitrate fertilisers into Great Britain.

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
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