The much-criticised National Register of Sprayer Operators scheme is to be revamped in a bid to make it more user-friendly to farmers, employees and farm contractors.


A review being overseen by new NRoSO chairman Michael Seals will examine all aspects of the scheme – including the way points are allocated and the range of events and training courses that sprayer operators are required to attend.


“We are starting with a clean sheet of paper,” Mr Seals told Farmers Weekly. “This is going to be a root and branch review and we will be looking at the whole system, including every aspect of point allocation.”


The scheme had played an important part in the success of the Voluntary Initiative designed to fend off the threat of a pesticide tax, said Mr Seals. But it was “not without its critics” and the review would seek to address these criticisms.


At the end of last year, Farmers Weekly reported that over 6000 NRoSO members were in danger of failing to meet the minimum 30 points required to continue their membership – potentially threatening farm assurance scheme membership.


Last month, NFU president Peter Kendall admitted that he was among those who had been suspended from the register because he had failed to obtain enough Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points.


Initial findings will be published in time for the Cereals 2007 event in June. Sprayer operators will then be consulted about the final shape of any revised scheme which will be launched this autumn.