14 May 1999

Give sprayer operators a shotgun-style certificate

By Andrew Blake

SELF-CERTIFICATION is the simplest and cheapest way to meet the withdrawal of "grandfather" spraying rights (Arable Apr 30), says Kent-based John Breach, chairman of the British Indepen-dent Fruit Growers Association.

Mr Breach believes a shotgun-style certificate countersigned by a member of BASIS would allow affected operators – those born before Dec 31 1964 – to continue spraying safely and legally.

Farmers and growers could apply to the Pesticides Safety Directorate for blank certificates on which they entered their name, address and date of birth.

"The certificate would also have space for a BASIS registered individual to confirm that they know the applicant, and that in their judgement he or she is capable of handling agricultural pesticides in a safe manner," says Mr Breach.

Once completed, the certificate would be returned to PSD for approval and to allow the details to be entered on a register.

"If everything was in order, the certificate would then be franked and returned to the applicant," he says.

Mr Breach believes such a scheme would have many advantages. "The costs involved would be very much lower than those for normal courses and tests and there would be no need to recruit extra examiners."

Individuals fearful of taking tests but perfectly capable of applying pesticides would be spared the stress of examination. "In many cases older employees are refusing to take the tests."

The ability of PSD to produce a register of certificated individuals would be a big improvement and show the public that steps had been taken to limit the use of pesticides to named persons, he adds.

"A cut-off period of 12 months would restrict the number of applications and ensure the entire workforce became certificated much sooner than under the present proposals."

Mr Breachs suggestions have been passed to PSD and he awaits a reply. &#42

GRANDFATHEROPTION

&#8226 Self-certification.

&#8226 Shotgun style.

&#8226 BASIS signed.

&#8226 One year cut off.