The report combines the Pesticides Forum’s annual and indicators reports. It outlines progress made with activities promoting the sustainable use of pesticides, and identifies issues needing further monitoring or work.
This report also gives an overview of the range of subjects covered by the work of the Pesticides Forum in 2015. Its structure reflects the format of the EU Directive on the sustainable use of pesticides (2009/128/EC).
The information and data presented in this report indicate that, overall, pesticides are being used in a more sustainable fashion than in the past. Improvements are continually being made to the arrangements for training pesticide users and distributors, more awarding bodies are receiving recognition and their training syllabuses include an increased emphasis on the need to use a range of techniques for controlling pests, weeds and diseases, says the report. Pesticide users, distributors and advisors are engaging with continuing professional development (CPD) training programmes in increasing numbers and a significant proportion of application equipment continues to be tested on an annual basis, the report adds.
The report states: "There has been a significant increase in the number of users obtaining recognised specified certificates, whether via the grandfather conversion course or undertaking the full training suite. There is a continuing need to reduce the number of waterbodies that are at risk of failing to meet the requirements of water quality legislation due to pesticides. It should be noted that the levels that have been found are not expected to pose any unacceptable risk to human health or the wider wellbeing of the environment, although some pollution incidents can cause significant localised and often short-term impacts.
"The data and information suggest that pesticide use could be having an indirect impact on biodiversity. However, the extent of this impact and the way pesticide use interacts with other land-management practices in affecting biodiversity is not clear. We would welcome monitoring and research to provide further evidence/information in this area.
"A great amount of progress has been made in improving practice in the non-agricultural sectors and certainly in amenity, although further work is still to be done.
"A combination of initiatives developed and led by Government, industry and others, sometimes working in conjunction with each other, continues to ensure that the UK's range of controls is effective and is ensuring that pesticides are being used in a more sustainable fashion."
Since its launch on 26 March 2014, 3610 people have completed the basic e-learning course for retail staff (Using Garden Plant Protection Products Safely) devised by the Crop Protection Association (CPA) and Horticultural Trades Association (HTA).