'Grandfather Rights' users warned of countdown to qualification deadline

Amenity contractors, groundskeepers, growers and professional gardeners currently spraying pesticides under 'Grandfather Rights' have one year to get qualified if they want to continue using them professionally.

So far users born before 1965 have been exempt from training in pesticide use under the UK’s Sustainable Use Regulations because of their experience with the chemicals.

But by 26 November 2015 anyone applying professional pesticide products must hold a recognised certificate, such as the PA1 and 2A or 6A.

Those currently operating under ‘Grandfather Rights’ have two alternatives:

  • To apply pesticides on their own land or that of their employer anyone born before 31 December 1964 can take the City & Guilds NPTC Level 2 Award in the Safe Use of Pesticides, which replaces Grandfather Rights.
  • To apply professional products as a contractor or to land not owned by them or their employer, operators must take the existing Level 2 Safe Use of Pesticides qualification appropriate to the type of equipment used. 

After November 26 2015, operators will not be able to buy professional pesticides unless they hold an appropriate certificate and will have to delegate the task.

Concerns about the changes were discussed at IoG Saltex this year, after volunteer bowls greenkeeper John Kenton of Knaphill Bowls Club complained that at 80 he will be too old for members to invest the money in his training.

He said: "There are many bowls clubs that do it themselves. They are going to disappear."

The Amenity Forum has been working to raise standards in the industry with chairman John Moverley taking every opportunity to raise awareness of the end of Grandfather Rights and of the forum's Amenity Assured Standard, although he said there are far less 'grandfathers' in amenity due to the structure of the sector.

"The Amenity Forum has worked closely with CRD and the awarding bodies in the construction of an appropriate training programme for those affected and is confident that those in amenity who require said training will do so."

In its promotion of best practice, we support adherence to Amenity Assured standards and core to these is appropriate training and committment to continuous professional development.
According to the National Farmers Union (NFU) 300 farmers have so far obtained the new Grandfather Certificate, and there has been a surge in interest with the Level 2 Award with an extra 2,700 taking the qualification in the last year.

NFU vice president Guy Smith said: "The NFU has been working with City & Guilds to raise awareness and promote the uptake of crop spraying relevant qualifications to meet the needs of the changes. I would also suggest talking to neighbours who have done the training to ask them for advice as well as contacting your nearest agricultural college."

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