DEFRA has put out a consultation paper seeking views on the future of the PSD following recommendations made in the 2005 review by former Lloyds TSB finance director Philip Hampton.
He recommended that 31 national regulatory bodies be consolidated into seven regulators. DEFRA ministers and management board considered the HSE to be the most strategic fit for a merger.
The proposition, according to the consultation document, "allows the PSD to retain its distinct identity within a single UK chemical regulator for a pesticides, biocides, chemicals and detergents while making use of 'best of breed' processes and removing unnecessary administrative burdens".
If the merger goes ahead, the PSD will transfer to HSE on 1 April.
DEFRA was considering options for the future of a number of its other regulators, including the Plant Health & Seeds Inspectorate and the Plant Variety Rights Office & Seeds Division.
Former technical director of the British Leafy Salads Association Ian Gillot said it appeared to be a common sense proposal but he was concerned experienced PSD staff would leave if forced to relocate.
The deadline for comments is 14 January. See www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/psd-future/consultation.pdf.
- See Grower, p39.