Farmers in the United Kingdom are being asked for their views on future spraying legislation in a consultation launched by the UK government today (9 February).
Its outcomes will have important implications for farmers and growers across the UK particularly as it covers obligations for prior notification of spraying near houses and access to pesticide records.
Responsibility for the consultation has been given to the Health and Safety Executive and the devolved administrations. The HSE has a ready-formatted response document on its website.
The findings will be summarised on DEFRA’s website except where respondents have asked for their submissions to be kept confidential.
The government then plans to draft “implementing legislation” for a further round of consultation.
Prior notification has been in the public eye for the past few years and particularly last summer when the government won an appeal against a High Court ruling that it had failed in its duty to protect rural residents during pesticide applications.
The ruling was a blow for anti-pesticide campaigner Georgina Downs who had argued that DEFRA failed to abide by European pesticide rules.
Responding to the consultation
Responses can be submitted online at www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/pesticides/ or sent by post, fax or email to:-Caroline Kennedy
EU Pesticides Consultation (Stage One)
Chemicals Regulation Directorate
3 Peasholme Green
Fax: 01904 455763
Consultees in Scotland should also copy their consultation responses to:
Marie Coventry Scottish Executive Rural Directorate Agriculture and Rural Development Division CAP Reform & Crop Policy Branch
47 Robb’s Loan
Consultees in Wales should also copy their responses to:
Plant Health and Biotechnology Branch
Technical Services Division
Welsh Assembly Government
Consultees in Northern Ireland should also copy their responses to:
Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Northern Ireland
Environmental Policy Branch
Room 656 Dundonald House
Upper Newtownards Road
BT4 3SB Northern Ireland
The consultation covers England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. However, the Scottish Executive and the Northern Ireland Assembly will be producing Statutory Instruments to implement the legislation in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Each country may adopt individual approaches to implementation in some areas, to take account of different circumstances.
Sustainable Use Directive 2009/128/EC
The overall objective of the Directive is to establish ” a framework to achieve a sustainable use of pesticides by reducing the risks and impacts of pesticide use on human health and the environment and promoting the use of Integrated Pest Management and of alternative approaches or techniques such as non-chemical alternatives to pesticides”. The UK must transpose and implement the Directive by 25 November 2011.
Key features of the Directive include: the establishment of National Action Plans; compulsory testing of application equipment, certification of operators and distributors, and access to certification for advisors; a ban (subject to derogations) on aerial spraying; special measures to protect the aquatic environment, public spaces and conservation areas; minimising the risks to human health and the environment through handling, storage and disposal; and the promotion of low input regimes (including Integrated Pest Management (IPM)).
The consultation invites views on the implementation and transposition of the following provisions:
Article 4: National Action Plans
Article 5: Training and Certification
Article 6: Sales Restrictions and Information Provision
Article 7: Information and Awareness Raising
Article 8: Testing of Pesticides Application Equipment
Article 9: Aerial Spraying
Article 10: Information on Pesticides
Article 11: Protection of Water
Article 12: Reduction of Pesticide Use or Risks in Specific Areas
Article 13: Storage, Handling and Waste
Article 14: Integrated Pest Management
Article 15: Indicators
Plant Protection Products Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009
The Regulation is essentially a revision of Directive 91/414/EEC that currently governs the approvals regime for plant protection products, but with some new elements. The Regulation’s overall objective is to ” lay down rules for the authorisation of plant protection products in commercial form and for their placing on the market, use and control within the Community [and] ensure a high level of protection of both human and animal health and the environment and to improve the functioning of the internal market through the harmonisation of the rules on the placing on the market of plant protection products including active substances, while improving agricultural production.”
The Regulation updates the existing regime and aims to increase the level of protection for people and the environment as well as speeding up decision making and providing clearer rules. The majority of the Regulation is directly binding and is not therefore included in this consultation. There are, however, two discretionary provisions in the Regulation where we have undertaken to consult.
The two provisions are:
Article 31: Authorisations – Notification of Neighbours
Article 67: Recording and Disclosing Information on pesticides
They concern the provision of information in two main categories: advance notification to neighbours who could be exposed to crop spraying activity; and making available records of plant protection products used, on request by the competent authority.
The Regulation provides an opportunity to consider the introduction of measures that would provide greater transparency of pesticides use post-approval. Despite the precautionary nature of the approval system and the high level of protection that it affords people, animals and the environment, people may wish to know about pesticides which they see being used.