Health & Safety Department

Drug Precursor Chemicals

Companies who deal in precursor chemicals need to be licensed or registered with the Home Office.

University licence

We no longer have a Category 1 licence which covers the whole University campus. Each School is required to apply for their own licence. Guidance on how to apply for a licence is below.

Current procedure for renewal of category 1 licence

The procedure for renewal has changed since the introduction of Controlled Drugs (Drug Precursors) (Intra-Community Trade) Regulations 2008.

Controlled Drugs (Drug Precursors) (Intra-Community Trade) Regulations 2008

Each licence application can now only apply to one building/premise therefore our University wide licence has not been renewed when it expired. Each School will therefore have to undertake the licensing process individually after identifying which buildings they will use or store category 1 drug precursor chemicals in.

Responsibilities of individual Schools

  • The School must identify a ‘Responsible Person’ as well as a ‘Guarantor’ for each licence application (although this can be the same two people if applying for more than one licence).
  • A personnel security check will be required as per the Home Office guidance.


The Home Office has introduced fees for each licence applied for.

  • A renewal licence without a compliance visit from the Home Office will now cost £326.
  • A renewal licence with a compliance visit costs £1,371.

Registration for Category 2 and 3 Drug Precursors

There are now also registration fees for category 2 and 3 drug precursor chemicals.

Please note these are only applicable if manufacturing or supplying category 2 substances or exporting category 3 substances outside the European Community, or, since 30 June 2015, if using more than 100 litres of Acetic Anhydride (category 2a) in a year.

  1. A new licence costs £435.
  2. A renewal licence with a compliance visit from the Home Office costs £1,153.
  3. A renewal licence with no visit costs £109.

List of drug precursors

A wallchart detailing all category 1, 2 and 3 drug precursors with their accompanying registration requirements is available on the Home Office website.

Annual Returns and end user declarations

Annual returns for certain substances are still required, please check the Home Office website for details. End user declarations are also still required.

Further information

Full details of the procedure, forms and fees is available on the Home Office website.