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Lawn Pesticides under threat by EU Legislation

Weed Free - Home of the Spraying Mantis The Plant Protection Products Regulations currently being discussed by The European Parliament's Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety mean stricter controls on the use of pesticides within the United Kingdom and Europe as a whole.

This will have an impact on everyone who uses control products as part of their daily life.  There has already been a close run battle on amendments to proposed pesticide legislation but all efforts are made ahead of the final vote.  If the final vote goes against us, we will see an end to well over 80 active ingredients used in Agriculture, Horticulture and Amenity Horticulture.

In the United Kingdom, professional users of pesticides are on the whole a responsible lot, complying with current pesticide legislation and having a natural respect of the environment.  Unlike users in France for example who can eaasily be seen mixing fungicides on the roadside, with spilt active ingredient clearly visible spilt on the ground.  One farmer I viewed on his little tractor sprayer one summers afternoon, mixed up his control product in his mist blower, got his dog on the tractor, lit a cigarette and then headed off into the vineyard with not as much as a bit of protective equipment on at all!  This practice would be frowned upon by a British Green Keeper or Lawn Operative who go out of their way to ensure that they are complying fully with the Food and Environment Protection Act (FEPA) and The Control of Pesticides Regulations (COPR) legislation.

The control and use of pesticides is important.  The majority of users in the professional sports turf industry are certificated in FEPA and proud of it.  Each year, the Health and Safety Executive produce their annual Pesticide Incident Report, detailing the reported incidences involving pesticides.  It is rare for anyone involved in Sports Turf to get a mention.  Their current annual report shows the continuing trend over past years of a fall in reported incidents alleging ill-health from Pesticides.

HSE's Head of Agriculture and Food Sector, Dr. Roger Nourish commented: "The figures do fluctuate from year to year but there has been a steady fall over recent years in the reported number of incidents alleging ill health. I welcome this trend and hope that it continues in future years.  "Whilst many factors may have influenced the figures, the part played by the successes of the Voluntary Initiative and other industry led programmes cannot be overlooked. I strongly advise farmers to participate in the schemes and in particular to take part in continuous professional development programmes."

Only today, a Campaigner has won a legal victory in a long-running battle with the government over the use of pesticides.   A High Court judge ruled Georgina Downs, who lives near Chichester, West Sussex, had produced "solid evidence" that residents had suffered harm.  Mr Justice Collins said a European order aimed at defending rural dwellers from possible exposure to toxins during crop-spraying had not been followed.  Ms Downs said the government "should now admit that it got it wrong".  "People were not given warnings about what was to be sprayed near their homes and gardens", Downs complained.  Read more  

This victory today reiterates the findings of the 2006/07 Annual Pesticide Incident Report which states that there were no charges were laid before the Courts against pesticide users under FEPA or COPR Legislation. A wopping 81% of complaints concerning pesticide use involved agriculture with the common complaint - spray drift during crop spraying.  Georgina Down has a point and we do agree with here.  Farmers are just so poor at completing a Local Environment Risk Assessment for Pesticides when the Green Keepers at their local Golf Club are spraying their fairways with shouded spray booms which ensure the control products sprayed stay where they were sprayed. 



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