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Changes to Pesticide Legislation

Rosemary Waterhouse 2013

Current Pesticide Legislation

The Plant Protection Products (Sustainable Use) Regulations 2012 implement the

The Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive 2009/128/EC.

The Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive includes a number of new provisions aimed at reducing risks and impacts on human health and the environment, and to improve controls on distribution and use. These include:

  • A National Action Plan.
  • compulsory testing of application equipment.
  • provision of training for, and arrangements for the certification of operators, advisors and distributors.
  • a ban (subject to limited exceptions) on aerial spraying.
  • provisions to protect water, public spaces and conservation areas.
  • the minimisation of risks from handling, storage and disposal.
  • and the promotion of low input regimes.


These changes to how pesticides should be used to comply with the law can be found in detailed guidance on the Chemicals Regulation Division (CRD) of the Health and Safety Executive website. The main activities where responsibilities will change are:

  • distribution of professional and non-professional pesticides.
  • use of professional products and application equipment.
  • use of non-professional pesticides.
  • purchasing professional pesticide products.
  • disposing of pesticide waste, including packaging.
  • training and certification of those who work with pesticides.


The guidance covers:

            > Section 1 - obligations on those who use pesticides.

            > Section 2 - obligations on those who supply pesticides.

            > Section 3 - the situation for advisers.

            > Section 4 - changes to the training and certification regime.

Summary of implications of the changes for Scotland and the rest of the UK

This is a brief summary of the changes, please refer to the link to guidance above for more detailed information:

> Professional pesticide users continue to be required to have a certificate of competence.  Existing certificates of competence remain valid.

> New immediate requirement to give preference to particular types of pesticide products to protect water.

> New immediate requirement to minimise use of pesticides in specific areas including roads, very permeable surfaces or other infrastructure close to surface and groundwater, areas used by the general public or vulnerable groups.

>New immediate changes to aerial spraying which must be conducted under an approved Application Plan and a permit issued by the Chemicals Regulation Division

> New immediate requirement for safe storage of pesticides to prevent releases.

> New immediate requirement for distributors of non-professional pesticide products to provide information to customers on risks of their use for human health and the environment.

New Obligations to take effect by 26 November 2015 and 2016

>The grandfather rights exemption continues until 26 November 2015, after which everyone who purchases a professional pesticide product must ensure that the intended end user holds an appropriate specified certificate or who will be working under the direct supervision of someone who holds one (because they are undergoing training). An appropriate certificate is one which relates to the relevant use of the product being purchased.

> After 26 November 2015 everyone who uses a professional pesticide product, including those who relied on grandfather rights, must hold a specified certificate (PDF list of 3 pages.) The list includes certificates of competence issued before 26 November 2013, any other certificates issued before 26 November 2013 which are recognised as valid, and all accredited certificates issued after 26 November 2013.

Certification of those with "grandfather rights"

> Those who have relied on "grandfather rights" in the past will need to obtain a specified certificate. Specific training/certification arrangements have been made for the conversion of these rights. The certificates issued under these arrangements are included in the published list of specified certificates. (PDF 3 Pages)

> By 26 November 2015 distributors of pesticides (including internet sellers) to have staff with specified certificates available at time of sale of pesticides to provide information on use, health and environmental risks, and safety instructions.  Micro-distributors are exempt.

> By 26 November 2016 and at regular intervals owners of pesticide application equipment in use (except knapsack and handheld sprayers) must ensure it is inspected to certain timetables.

Certification of Advisors

> While there is no legal requirement for advisors to have a certificate it is envisaged that all advisors will hold a BASIS Certificate for Sale and Supply, or equivalent.

Changes to the Training and Certification Regime

> The Chemicals Regulation Division has published a list of designated awarding bodies, which must have the capability to implement certification systems and offer awards that are accredited or are subject to independent review by a regulator.