The Plant Protection Products (Sustainable Use) Regulations 2012 came into force last week, incorporating the EU's Sustainable Use of Pesticides directive into UK law.
"The UK farming and crop-protection sector has worked hard to set the highest stewardship standards in Europe, and this has been recognised by the Government in its 'light-touch' implementation of these European requirements," said Crop Protection Association (CPA) director of policy Dr Anne Buckenham.
UK operators are already obliged to hold a certificate of competence, and these will remain valid until November next year, with some expected to remain valid beyond that.
Buckenham added: "The CPA-led cross-industry calls for the UK Government to retain this statutory provision, which underpins industry initiatives such as the National Register of Sprayer Operators, will help to ensure that the UK's existing robust controls on pesticide use are maintained."
NFU deputy president Meurig Raymond added: "This legislation acknowledges the work carried out by UK growers through the Voluntary Initiative. For operators already adhering to best-practice guidelines, these regulations will make little difference."
Also in line with the directive, consultation is currently underway to produce a UK national action plan for the sustainable use of pesticides.
Regulations Key points
- The creation of a national action plan on pesticide use.
- Compulsory testing of equipment.
- Provision of training for, and certification of, operators, advisors and distributors.
- A ban on aerial spraying
- Provisions to protect water, public spaces and conservation areas.
- Minimisation of risks from handling, storage and disposal.
- Promotion of low-input regimes, including integrated pest management.