Farming: Deadline looms for pesticide use registration

While farmers’ minds might be more focused on next week’s return of the Royal Highland Show, growers have been reminded of another important date fast approaching on the horizon.

And with next week seeing the June 22 deadline for those using pesticides to register their details with Defra, NFU Scotland’s Environmental Resources Policy Manager Sarah Cowie outlined what actions were necessary to meet the new requirements.

She said that the Official Control (Plant Protection Products) Regulations 2020 were already in force and required all farm businesses using pesticides to register their details by next week’s deadline on the Defra website.

“If you use pesticides and adjuvants on your farm, you are legally obliged to register your business name, all addresses where pesticides are stored, and an estimated volume of the pesticides you use,” said Cowie, writing in the union’s blog.

NFU Scotland’s Environmental Resources Policy Manager Sarah Cowie.

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She added that anyone using such products for the first time after June 22, or who began selling pesticides, had to register within three months of starting.

“You are only required to register once. If there is significant change in your business use of pesticides, such as a change of business address or closure of the business, you must inform Defra,” she added.

She also pointed out that the deadline date for registration represented a statutory deadline. “Failure to comply without a reasonable excuse is an offence. If you miss the deadline, you must submit your form as soon as possible,” she said – adding that the union would update members on any future changes to the registration requirements.

And she said that the definition of a “professional user” covered any person or business which used pesticides in the course of their work activities: “You are considered a professional user if you work in agriculture, amenity, or forestry in Great Britain and use professional pesticides and any adjuvants as part of your work, including if you are hired to spray pesticides on someone else’s land; have professional pesticides and any adjuvants applied by a third party as part of your work in agriculture or horticulture, amenity, or forestry; use pesticides when working in agriculture or horticulture when farming or maintaining arable crops, forage crops, livestock, or when treating seeds.”

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Cowie added that where businesses sold professional pesticides separate to their use, they should register as both a business that used pesticides, and as a business that sold pesticides, pointing out the forms were different for both cases.

And while many farmers felt that the registration exercise was unnecessary, as the adoption of good practice in the use of pesticides was already an important part of farm assurance schemes, she said: “We have fed back comments that this process may be seen as a duplication of information that is already supplied through other quality assurance schemes.

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"But due to data protection requirements associated with these, and to ensure as many registrations as possible, it was felt best for everyone to register, with the hope that the burden on farmers is minimal.”

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