The National Sprayer Testing Scheme has been fully backed by spray manufacturers and spray operators. The voluntary initiative was introduced at the beginning of this year as a possible alternative to an annual pesticide tax that would cost the industry £125 million.
The programme of measures, agreed by the Government, aims to minimise the environmental impact of pesticides, and is a commitment made by the horticulture, amenity and agriculture industries to submit spraying equipment being used within the UK to an annual inspection by a qualified inspector.
The tests help maintain application equipment so that it is reliable, accurate, safe and efficient throughout its operating life.
Managing director Mike Seaton, of Berkshire-based amenity spraying contract company Weed Free, has called for the scheme to be compulsory. He said: “It could be brought in gradually, with it initially being necessary for newer spray equipment. Unless the testing scheme is compulsory it’s impossible to get total compliance, which defeats the object.”
Seaton also raised considerations to company budgets. He commented: “Our products are more expensive by comparison with the active ingredient agricultural equivalent. No greenkeeper or groundsman wants to waste expensive products due to worn nozzles, perished hoses or leaks from fittings.”
In taking up the scheme, sprayer manufacturer E Allman & Co of Chichester has trained staff as NSTS inspectors.
To adopt the scheme, contact Duncan Russell at the Agricultural Engineering Association 01733 362925.
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