Updates about pesticides, neonicotinoids, and legislation


Pesticides are a tried and tested way for the commercial horticulture sector to control or kill unwanted pests – such as rodents or insects – fungi, and weeds, and prevent them from damaging crops.

Such chemical or biological plant protection products (PPPs) fall under a range of terms:

  • Insecticides (insect killers)
  • Fungicides (fungus or mould killers)
  • Herbicides (weed killers)
  • Molluscicides (slug or snail killers)
  • Rodenticides (such as rat poison).

But while PPPs are effective methods to control and kill pests, many can also have a harmful effect on the environment, wildlife, food, and even the general public.

For this reason, there are strict rules on the sale or use of such products. In Wales, the Health and Safety Executive’s Chemical Regulation Directorate (CRD) has overall responsibility for overseeing these regulations and ensuring pesticides are used in a safe, responsible, and effective manner.


Neonicotinoids are chemicals commonly used to manufacture insecticides. However, several scientific studies, including one by the European Food Safety Authority, have suggested that its use poses an unacceptably high risk to honey bees. In April 2013, the European Commission introduced a two-year EU ban on neonicotinoid insecticides containing:

  • Clothianidin
  • Imidacloprid
  • Thiamethoxam.

This suspension covers:

  • Commercial use on crops considered attractive to bees and other pollinators, such as maize and oilseed rape, and cereals (apart from the treatment of winter cereals)
  • All amateur uses of such products.

These restrictions will apply from 1 December 2013.

Grandfather Rights

So-called ‘Grandfather Rights’ is an exemption that enables anyone born before 31 December 1964 to use plant protection products (PPPs) such as pesticides on their own or employer’s land, without having to hold an official operator’s certificate of competence, although they must still receive adequate training.

In June 2013, the CRD issued updated guidance confirming the exemption was being phased out by 26 November 2015, after which, all individuals using PPPs must obtain the appropriate documentation, whatever their level of prior experience. Once the exemption ceases, it will also become an offence for anyone to purchase PPPs for professional use unless they have ensured that the intended end-user has a certificate of competence.

Pesticides and Neonicotinoids – Useful Updates

Pesticides and Neonicotinoids – Useful Links

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