« Hmmm. I Was Wrong. | Main | Chris Dillow on Inheritance Tax »

March 31, 2007

Detonation Resistance Test Certificate

Alerted by the UK Daily Pundit I go to the Secure Your Fertilizer site. Fair enough, ammonium nitrate (and others, such as Urea) can indeed be turned into bombs, seems a sensible enough idea to tell everyone to keep it safe and secure. Despite my certainty that they overspent on their website (a wet Monday afternoon should have sufficed, but hey, we're talking government and IT here, aren't we?) a fair enough use of taxpayers' money, reducing the chance of their being blown up.

They point out that a number of the IRA bombs were based on that old standby of ammonium nitrate and derv.

The UK has a history of terrorist attacks using fertiliser based explosives dating back to the early 1970s. The Northern Ireland 'troubles' saw both Republican and Loyalist terrorist groups deploying explosive devices containing fertiliser which resulted in significant fatalities, injuries and damage. More recently, dissident Republican groups such as the 'Real' IRA (RIRA) and the Continuity IRA (CIRA) have rejected the Good Friday agreement and still pose a serious threat to the UK mainland and Northern Ireland.

One thing that caught my eye was the existence of the "Detonation Resistance Test Certificate". Some more is here. This is a bit of a guess on my part but I assume that everyone is asked, very politely of course, to make sure that the ammonium nitrate they make is not too easy to turn into an explosive. Perhaps don't make it too pure or something. But in order to sell the stuff you've got to have it tested, in an approved lab, to make sure that it is indeed not too too easy to make into an explosive. Then you get your certificate and make sure that as it moves through the marketplace that certificate stays with the goods...or at least the number does.

OK, fine, whatever. Should mean (given the chemical signatures that will inevitably be in any given batch of such a material) that the lot of ammonium nitrate that was used to make the bomb can be traced. We'll have, over and above the certificate itself, a 25 kg sample of every lot and batch at one of those testing laboratories. Good.

Then this:

(NB: Detonation resistance test certificates do not apply in Northern Ireland.)


Please tell me I've missed something! We're not really ruled by morons are we?

March 31, 2007 in Your Tax Money at Work | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Detonation Resistance Test Certificate:


Northern Ireland have its own Ammonium Nitrate controls.

This dates from the Troubles, and the time when all AN fertilisers were (IIRC) banned.

Tim adds: OK, that makes sense then. So I did miss something.

Posted by: Jules | Mar 31, 2007 5:23:55 PM

Some of them are, as you suggest, morons. Many, if not most, of them are mendacious opportunists and statist meddlers.

There has been the odd conviction politician from time to time but Maggie seems to have been the last one in any position of power.

As for the rest, they are in it because actually working as a lawyer, rather than creating endless new laws, is too much like hard work for such gentle souls.


Posted by: Surreptitious Evil | Mar 31, 2007 5:25:39 PM

It used to be quite difficult to even buy the stuff in NI. Believe me, I know the guy who used to stop ships in the North Channel and send a dog into the hold.

Posted by: Alex | Apr 1, 2007 10:22:07 PM

may i point out this section to you

In Northern Ireland, it is illegal to import and/or take possession of fertilisers which have more than 79% ammonium nitrate unless licensed by the Northern Ireland Office. Most fertilisers in Northern Ireland are based on a form of ammonium nitrate called calcium ammonium nitrate. Pure ammonium nitrate fertilisers are not permitted in Northern Ireland.

Posted by: Jonas Smith | Apr 17, 2007 2:35:34 PM