Malicious attack on chemicals infrastructure

This risk is featured in the full matrix, representing the averages of multiple different scenarios presented together in the ‘conventional attack on infrastructure’ category.

Impact 5
risk indicator
ID 10
Risk theme Terrorism
Impact & Likelihood
Impact key
5 Catastrophic
4 Significant
3 Moderate
2 Limited
1 Minor
Likelihood key
5 >25%
4 5-25%
3 1-5%
2 0.2-1%
1 <0.2%


The chemicals sector’s products underpin UK manufacturing by supplying essential raw materials and intermediate inputs to almost all other manufacturing industries. To date, there has not been a malicious attack on chemicals infrastructure. As with other risk scenarios, terrorist groups may seek to cause harm to advance their political agendas.


The reasonable worst-case scenario for this risk is a malicious attack on a major chemicals installation. There is a release of hazardous material as a result, impacting human and animal health. There may be an increased demand on health services and short-term evacuation for affected residents.

Response capability requirements

The on-the-ground response will be led by local responders. Effective local incident management, the availability of site- specific response plans and the integration of site operators into the response may reduce the number of individuals exposed to the release. There may be increased demand on health services.


Some individuals may sustain long-lasting physical injuries. Psychological support may be required for those impacted. The contamination from the hazardous materials may be short-lived due to their high volatility. Decontamination may take days to weeks. Onsite operations may cease pending the outcome of investigations. The partial restart of operations may take days to weeks. Repairs to affected storage systems may take months to complete.