Ban on solid fuel tablets

06 March 2024
Popular with live steam enthusiasts, ownership now requires an official license.

At  4pm on 20/2/24,  Mamod Ltd was informed, by the UK Government Counter Terrorism Department,  that a new law on the sale of Hexamine Fuel Tablet was introduced in October 2023. These solid fuel tablets have powered many of the company's products, including traction engines for decades.

The firm now has to obtain a license to purchase the fuel tablets from their suppliers, and then can only sell to customers who can provide proof of a license they have obtained for ownership. To buy fuel tablets, you must apply for a license directly from this Government website.  Licenses are valid for three years, and cost £39.50.

The Government website clearly states:

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  • It is an offence to supply a member of the public with any regulated substances if they do not hold a valid EPP licence issued by the Home Office.
  • If found guilty, there is a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment and/or a fine.

These fuel tablets are also used in camping equipment – to heat stoves, firelighters often used for family BBQs and many other uses.
Mamod has been told that there was an extensive consultation regarding these changes, and yet despite being a major supplier, they were unaware until February. WIlesco, also in the same position, was also not consulted.

The issue appears to be that according to a "terrorist cookbook" available on the Dark Web, with some chemistry knowledge, it would be possible to extract the hexamine from the tablets, and construct an explosive device with it. Mamod has had extensive discussions with the Police anti-terrorist branch to establish the problem, and look at potential ways around it.

At present, the firm has developed a liquid gell-based alternative, and is retooling some models to make use of this. Methylated spirits has been suggested as an alternative, but models powered by this can't be sold in the USA. Gas power is already available for some models.


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