Farmers face £90m spray training bill
By FWi staff
GOVERNMENT plans to force pesticide users to hold certificates of competence could cost the farmers more than £90 million, according to official estimates.
The government plans to drop the “grandfather rights” exemption that currently allows pesticides users born before 31 December, 1964 to operate without a certificate.
But cost of training and certifying all users, including time off work to complete a sprayer test, could total more than £90m, according to Ministry of Agriculture statistics.
The National Farmers Union has already criticised what it sees as the imposition of more costs on an already well-trained industry, estimating that each spray test will cost £250.
But junior farm minister Jeff Rooker said it was essential that farm pesticides should be used correctly, to protect the people that use them as well as the public and the environment.
“To this end, everyone using agricultural pesticides will have to hold a certificate showing they know how to use them properly,” he said.
Farmers will have until 2005 to comply with the legislation, which the government hopes to have in place by the end of this year.
Patrick Goldsworthy of the British Agrochemical Association said that the proposals were a “pragmatic and sensible approach” given that they were being phased in over five years.