Initial UK response to EU pesticides legislation published

The summary of responses and initial Government response to the consultation on implementing new European pesticides legislation has been published.

According to DEFRA, UK pesticides safety standards are already high and only minor changes are necessary to meet the new requirements.It says no compelling evidence was provided in the responses to justify further extending existing regulations and voluntary controls.

The NFU welcomed the news that existing voluntary measures and legal requirements governing pesticides in the UK will be largely used to meet new European legislation.

The introduction of the new European Sustainable Use Directive, which comes into force in November 2011, has seen Defra undergo a detailed consultation to ensure the requirements of the Directive are being met.

NFU Vice President Gwyn Jones said today’s announcement vindicates the approach being used by British farmers and growers who currently use voluntary measures to govern pesticide use.

"Today’s news is a just reward for the farmers and growers who have worked hard with voluntary measures to ensure the safe use of essential pesticides and crop protection sprays," Jones said.

The NFU will now analyse the full report and prepare for a second consultation from Defra on the implementing measures, expected in May 2011.

The draft legislation will include:

  • provisions for the Government to publish a National Action Plan that sets out how the UK will implement the EU legislation;
  • some changes to the training and certification regime;
  • a statutory regime for equipment testing; and
  • a statutory regime restricting the sale of professional products to certified users.

The consultation asked for views on two separate pieces of legislation; the Directive on the Sustainable Use of Pesticides and some aspects of a Regulation on the Marketing of Plant Protection Products. The consultation was carried out by the Chemicals Regulation Directorate of the Health and Safety Executive on behalf of Defra, the Welsh Assembly Government, the Scottish Executive, and the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Proposals for revising the current fees and charges which pay for pesticide approval testing and monitoring are also being developed to meet the new EU obligations and will be consulted on in the new year.

The responses to the consultation on the new EU legislation can be found here.

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