The European Commission officially adopted and published two key pieces of legislation that form part of the ‘pesticides package’ at the end of November, setting in motion major changes in how plant protection products are placed on the market and how they are used in practice.
Together with changes in how statistics on pesticide sales and use are collected and changes in the Machinery Directive, which deals with standards for spraying equipment, the raft of legislation forms the European Union’s Thematic Strategy for Pesticides.
Essentially, Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market and repealing Council Directives 79/117/EEC and 91/414/EEC , will see some ‘active substances’ in pesticides banned. In particular, says the European Parliament, the legislation seeks to outlaw highly toxic chemicals, such as those that cause cancer.
It signals a switch to hazard-based rather than risk-based cut-off criteria, meaning that active substances considered to be particularly hazardous will not be allowed whether or not they pose a risk in ‘real-life’ use.
Meanwhile, Directive 2009/128/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing a framework for Community action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides , introduces fundamental changes in how crops are protected.
In particular, the Directive demands that each Member State adopts a National Action Plan to set “quantitative objectives, targets, measures and timetables to reduce risks and impacts of pesticide use on human health and the environment”.
Furthermore, each Member State must “encourage the development of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and of alternative approaches or techniques in order to reduce dependency on the use of pesticides”.
Member States have until December 2012 to communicate these National Action Plans to both the European Commission and to other Member States.
You can read the Regulation and the Directive in six languages in ENDURE's European documents section. If the language you require is not here, go to the EUR-Lex, website which carries details of all European Union law in all 23 official languages.
The UK’s Chemicals Regulation Directorate has a useful section of its website devoted to the EU Thematic Strategy for Pesticides, including links to all official documents and initial assessments of the impacts of these changes.
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