Limits on the sale of substances for explosives

Private persons are no longer allowed to purchase chemical substances that can be used to make explosives, when they do not have a licence to do so. Neither are they allowed to import, possess or use these substances, when they do not possess the required documents. In addition, sellers and private persons will soon be required to report suspect transactions, disappearances, and thefts of such chemicals to the authorities.

This is provided for in a bill of the State Secretary for Security and Justice, Mr. Van der Steur, which the Council of Ministers has approved. This bill serves to implement into Dutch law a European regulation on the introduction into the market and the use of precursors (chemicals) for explosives. This measure is a part of the Action Programme for an Integrated Approach to Jihadism. The overall objective of the regulation is a safer society and an internal market that functions more effectively.

Self-made explosives are often being used by terrorists and other criminals. Consequently, the Cabinet wants to prevent these persons from obtaining chemicals for this purpose. It is anticipated that the availability of these substances will decline considerably following the entry into force of the Act. In doing so, the Act will make a considerable contribution to national security.

The Member States of the European Union currently apply a variety of rules as far as the raw materials for explosives are concerned. While one country may strictly regulate the sale of these chemicals and performs checks on them, these same substances may be freely available in another country. The implementation of the regulation is intended to put an end to this undesirable situation.

In anticipation of the law, many Dutch companies have already taken measures. Moreover, they are already reporting suspect transactions to the Suspect Chemicals Transactions Hotline (Meldpunt Verdachte Transacties Chemicaliën), a joint venture of the National Police and FIOD.

The Council of Ministers has agreed to forward the bill for advice to the Council of State. The text of the bill and of the advice of the Council of State are published upon their submission to the Lower House.