The Plant Protection Products (Sustainable Use) Regulations 2012 came into force on 18 July 2012. These regulations cover obligations to businesses who use and supply pesticides. Part III of the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 (FEPA) also deals with regulating pesticides. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) also gives practical guidance on the storage and transport of pesticides and the obligations on those who store for sale and supply. The use of pesticides are also regulated by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 and the EU Directive 2009/128/EC which establishes a framework for Community action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides. The Control of Pesticides Regulations (COPR) 1986 is also pertinent.
Pesticides are used to protect plants/crops from pests and diseases. Pesticides include insect killers (insecticides), mould and fungi killers (fungicides), weedkillers (herbicides), slug pellets (molluscicides), plant growth regulators, bird and animal repellents, and rat and mouse killers (rodenticides). Professional farmers who supply food to the country and internationally, breeders of animals and anyone who produces, supplies or uses pesticides, whether for home or commercial use, has an obligation to the environment and the public to be responsible in their use. Everyone who uses pesticides has the responsibility to ensure that they use them correctly and effectively. The products to be used must be authorized for use. The HSE has publishes a database of pesticide products and information on them. This includes changes to the register, products subject to withdrawal, active substances in the product, information on crops, aerial usage and marketing companies for the product. When using pesticides one should always read the label. This will include user restrictions, the crop or situation to be treated, operator protection or training requirements, the maximum application amount and permitted number of treatments, the products’ active ingredients, hazards, the safe disposal of the product and its registration number (Ministerially Approved Pesticide Product, MAPP).
There is also guidance on aerial spraying of pesticides, for example, there is guidance on precautions to be taken to prevent spray drift. When spraying by aircraft, one must provide notification to the public. In all situations it should be considered how the pesticide will affect other people’s health and the environment (as in a COSHH assessment). The COSHH regulations apply to a pesticide product if it is classified as very toxic/corrosive, has a ‘workplace exposure limit’ (WEL) and/or includes a micro-organism dangerous to health. For work with most pesticides one must wear suitable PPE to protect themselves (such as overalls, suitable gloves and boots). For those spraying pesticides they will need to wear respiratory protective equipment so they do not breathe in the fumes.