Briar Chemicals delivers contract and custom manufacturing solutions to customers across the globe. From our site in Norwich, UK, we service world-leading companies in the crop protection, fine and speciality sectors, utilising a broad asset and technology base, underpinned by quality driven project management. The chemical products that we manufacture benefit society across the globe.

The products we make on behalf of our customers help to protect a wide range of crops, increase farmers’ yields in challenging climates and are key building blocks in the chemical industry.


The name ‘Briar Chemicals’ was chosen by our employees when the business became an independent entity in September 2012. The briar is a robust, vigorous species of wild rose native to the UK. It represents the long history of manufacturing at the site’s location of Sweet Briar Road in Norwich, and the future growth aspirations of the business. It is also a link to the site’s long tradition with the manufacture of crop protection products.

Although Briar Chemicals is a relatively new name in the custom manufacturing sector we have more than 50 years’ expertise and an established reputation for manufacturing excellence and dependability. In 1955 May & Baker acquired a green field site in Norwich to build a new facility for the manufacture of crop protection products. The following year, in 1956, production commenced with the product “Tropotox” (a herbicide used on broad leaf weeds). In 1963 the site commenced manufacture of Ioxynil and Bromoxynil, and between 1969 and 1983 the site expanded rapidly, with May & Baker winning five Queen’s awards for Industry, Export Achievement and Technological Innovation. In 1988, May & Baker was renamed Rhône-Poulenc Agriculture.

Aventis, a world leader in pharmaceuticals and agriculture, was created in December 1999 and the Norwich site became operational under its new identity of Aventis CropScience UK in January 2000. Aventis brought together the innovative strength and global research excellence of Rhône-Poulenc and Hoechst.

September 2002 saw Aventis CropScience rebranded as Bayer CropScience. The Norwich site continued to be Bayer’s largest manufacturing site in the UK, producing mainly herbicides as well as a veterinary product that is used for treatment of sheep and cattle.

On September 1st 2012, we became Briar Chemicals Ltd, an independent organisation, wholly owned by Aurelius AG.


Custom Manufacturing


Briar Chemicals has more than 50 years’ experience of performing challenging chemistry.
We are primarily a custom and contract manufacturing organisation, with a focus on process safety, total confidentiality and IP protection. We welcome the opportunity to assess new technologies and manufacturing techniques working in partnership with our customers. Our site provides the infrastructure required for new build projects.

Our current technologies include:

  • Bromination (various brominating agents including elemental bromine handled in bulk)
  • Chlorination (specialised bulk thionyl chloride handling capability)
  • Diazotisation
  • Esterification
  • Nitration
  • Oxidation
  • Sulphonamide formation
  • Sulphur Dioxide reactions
  • Recovery and recycle of solvents and copper salts

Analytical Services

As part of our contract and custom manufacturing service package, Briar Chemicals offers extensive analytical development and support services.

Our expertise includes:

  • Development, validation and implementation of new analytical methods for new and existing processes.
  • Problem solving, troubleshooting and non-routine analytical support for new and existing processes.
  • Technical appraisal of ideas, studies and trials aimed at providing measurable process improvements.
  • Seed treatment and formulations development
  • Environmental monitoring

On site there is an extensive range of equipment and techniques available to support our manufacturing activities:

  • GC, GC-MS
  • Ion Chromatographic (IC) techniques
  • Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) – Optical Emission Spectrometry (OES)
  • UV/FTIR and wet chemistry

Our proactive approach ensures a fast speed of response and reflects Briar Chemicals’ commitment to continuous improvement and operational excellence.

Continuous Improvement

Our culture of operational excellence underpins everything we do, deriving benefits for all stakeholders through continuous improvement.

Continuous improvement through process optimisation will enable Briar Chemicals to remain competitive and sustainable in a challenging business environment; minimising solvent usage and waste generation, increasing process yields and reducing batch times are all key elements to the project delivery and review process.

Once the first campaign of a new product has been successfully delivered, we review what went well, what went less well and how we could do it better.

Campaign reviews continue to be carried out by the Project Team throughout the life of the project as an integral part of the company’s focus on continuous improvement.

Formulation & Packing

In addition to expertise with synthesis of chemical products, Briar offers a segregated, highly-automated but flexible formulation, filling and packaging facility on an adjacent 6 hectare site.

The compact and efficient layout, with its own highly trained team, allows us to respond quickly to customer needs.

Supply Chain Management

Briar Chemicals has all the necessary skills and experience to manage and plan contract manufacturing activity. Through the efficient use of sales and operation planning processes, and expert procurement of goods and services, we ensure that we deliver on time, in full worldwide.


Briar Chemicals is fully committed to compliance with REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals).

Raw materials procurement

Briar Chemicals has an excellent knowledge of the global chemicals sector. Raw materials and packaging materials are responsibly sourced worldwide. Our track record in cost improvement and working capital minimisation has enabled Briar to realise benefits for all stakeholders, working in partnership with our customers.

Shipping and logistics

With more than 50 years’ experience of shipping to over 25 countries worldwide on all continents, Briar Chemicals’ logistics team demonstrates expertise in import / export regulations, and the transportation of dangerous goods by road, rail, sea and air. We have a long established reputation for reliability, working ethically with all our suppliers and logistics partners.

In excess of 95% of our transactions are exported to destinations outside of the UK. From our site’s location in Norwich there is easy access to deep sea ports including Felixstowe, Liverpool and London from which we ship liquid and solid products (in bulk and in packages). Our proactive Customer Services team will advise on the most efficient and cost effective routing for shipments and complete the necessary customs paperwork.

Packing facilities on site supply chain management
Warehouse facilities on site


We offer extensive warehousing facilities and expertise in stock control to manage our customers’ inventories, becoming an extension of their supply chain operations.

Multiple warehouses are available on site to allow segregation of packaging materials and different classifications of raw materials and finished products.


Download our corporate brochures:

Our Vision & Values

Who we are

Technologies & Services

Blending, Formulation & Packing

Key facts:

  • Site area 46 hectares (114 acres) with 13.6 hectares available for development
  • 220 employees
  • Global business with > 95% of production exported
  • Sales revenue ~ UK£ 45 million (Euro 60 million, US$ 75 million, Yen 8000 million)
  • Wholly owned by Aurelius AG
  • Upper Tier COMAH establishment (Seveso III Directive)
  • Extensive site infrastructure includes waste treatment facilities, energy generation and warehousing

Briar Chemicals is a member of the Chemical Industries Association and EFCG (CEFIC), and adheres to the guiding principles of Responsible Care ®.


Send Message To Briar Chemicals Ltd

Message Briar Chemicals Ltd directly.

+44 (0)1603 242424
Sweet Briar Road, Norwich, NR6 5AP, UK
Alex Harvey, Marie Woods
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