Scottish farmers and crofters are being reminded that from Thursday (26 November) significant changes to who can purchase and use pesticides will come into force.
From Thursday, it will a legal requirement to hold the necessary certification if you wish to purchase and/or spray plant protection products (PPPs). Products include those insecticides, fungicides, slug pellets/molluscicides, plant growth regulators, soil sterilants, and herbicides authorised for professional use.
Previously, those born before 31 December 1964 could, under Grandfather Rights, spray PPPs responsibly on their or their employer’s land but they did not require a certificate of competence. Despite the lobbying effort of all UK farming unions, this exemption is being removed. Not only will Grandfather Rights to spray PPPs be stopped, it will also become an offence for anyone to purchase professional PPPs unless they have ensured that the person who will use the product holds the relevant qualifications.
The options available to those no longer able to use professional PPPs under Grandfather Rights are:
· Pass the Level 2 Award in the Safe Use of Pesticides Replacing Grandfather Rights. This new qualification is only available to those born before 31 December 1964, and is specifically designed to take into account the experience they will have built up over years of using professional PPPs. The limitation of this option is that it only authorises a person to use professional PPPs on land they own or occupy (i.e. it is not suitable for those who use them on an employer’s land).
· Pass the existing NPTC Level 2 Award in Safe Use of Pesticides, appropriate to the type of equipment they use. This qualification allows them to use professional PPPs on their own land, employer’s land, or as a contractor.
· Employ a qualified contractor for all professional PPPs applications. Contact the National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) to find a contractor.
It is also possible to purchase and apply professional pesticides when “under supervision” for the purposes of training.
The next stage of the reform of PPP regulations will kick in from 26 November 2016, when all working equipment used to apply professional PPPs (with the exception of handheld equipment) will be required to tested and approved by a National Sprayer Testing Scheme (NSTS) examiner.
NFU Scotland’s Deputy Director of Policy, Andrew Bauer said: “As the deadline for the expiry of Grandfather Rights is now upon us, it is essential that all farmers – if they haven’t done so already – take action to ensure that they remain compliant with the law and can buy and apply the PPPs that they need. Here in Scotland there are relatively few providers of the training and certification that farmers need, and they are all based on the east coast. For those in the west and north, it may be more economical for them to club together with neighbouring farmers to seek the necessary training or certification – that way spreading the costs of getting the trainer or tester to their part of the country. We also, as an industry, need to be thinking ahead to the requirement that from 26 November 2016, all non-handheld sprayers and granule applicators will require testing and approval.”
· Scottish providers of the Level 2 Award in the Safe Use of Pesticides Replacing Grandfather Rights and NPTC Level 2 Award in Safe Use of Pesticides are Skills (Scotland) Testing Services Ltd and Ringlink Services Limited. A database of all centres is available at http://bit.ly/1P5qfRn
· For more information see http://www.voluntaryinitiative.org.uk/en/legal/sud and www.voluntaryinitiative.org.uk/en/legal/grandfather-rights