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:
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:
This suspension covers:
These restrictions will apply from 1 December 2013.
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.