Sprayer rules change bitter-sweet says CLA

Pesticide users born before 1965 will soon be required by law to hold a certificate of competence to spray agrichemicals.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) described the changes to so-called “grandfather rights” – exemptions to pesticide use for people above a certain age – as “bitter-sweet”.

The association said it was concerned about the changes that would mean people born before 31 December 1964 were no longer exempt from having to obtain a certificate to use pesticides.

The Chemicals Regulation Directorate (CRD) this week announced arrangements for a new “grandfather” sprayer operator certificate that will be a requirement for all operators who do not hold a current certificate of competence.

The certificate, a legal requirement from 26 November 2015, will be available via City and Guilds NPTC assessment centres from 26 November 2013.

In order to obtain the certificate, operators will have to pass a one-off test – the City and Guilds Level 2 Certificate in the Safe Use of Pesticides.

The assessment will take two to three hours for oral questioning and one practical unit – but could take longer if more practical units are required. Farming unions are still seeking clarification on the cost, which is understood will be about £100 per person.

CLA president Harry Cotterell said: “We are unhappy that professionals such as grassland farmers, gamekeepers and forestry specialists will have to undergo burdensome assessments despite having the experience to show they use pesticides responsibly.

“To reduce the effect on CLA members, we have lobbied hard against these changes, brought about by the European Union’s Sustainable Use Directive. However, we recognise that DEFRA ministers were keen to implement the directive with the fewest effects possible.”

The changes were likely to have more effect on farms and rural businesses that occasionally use pesticides, he added. “Instead of having to undertake separate tests that cover a range of pesticide applications, the CLA has ensured that any grandfather-rights holder will only have to take a one-off test to gain the qualification.”

New “Grandfather Certificate” Q&A

Will the legislation affect livestock farmers who occasionally use pesticides or smallholders who are using professional herbicides?

The legal requirements apply to all users of professional pesticides.

I have PA1 and an application module (for example 2a, 6a). Will that be sufficient for me to continue to spray after November 2015?

Your PA1 and application module will allow you to continue to spray on the application equipment relevant to the application module (all previous certifications of competence will still be valid after November 2015). So those with existing certification need do nothing in preparation for 2015.

I only have a PA1 FEPA certificate. Is this sufficient for me to continue to spray after November 2015?

No, you will need to have completed an application module on the relevant form of application equipment.

I attended PA application module training courses (for example 2, 6a) but did not take the qualification test. Is this sufficient for me to continue to spray after November 2015?

No, you will need to have a certificate of competence relevant to application equipment to continue spraying.

Do I need a certificate to purchase professional Plant Protection Products (PPPs) after November 2015?

Yes, if you are going to be using the product yourself. If you are purchasing it for someone else to use, you need to be sure he/she is qualified. 

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