EU legislation (particularly Council Directive 79/117/EEC) previously prohibited (sometimes known as "banned") the placing on the market and use of plant protection products containing certain active substances which, even if applied in an authorised manner, could give rise to harmful effects on human health or the environment.
From 14 June 2011, the marketing of plant protection products in the EU has been subject to Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009. The Regulation prohibits use of any active substances in plant protection products unless they have been approved for that purpose in accordance with the Regulation. This general prohibition rendered Council Directive 79/117/EEC superfluous and the Directive was therefore repealed, also from 14 June 2011.
Link to EU database of approved active substances (Guidance on how to search this database is given in Q9 of our Frequently Asked Questions concerning pesticide products).
A number of active substances remain specifically prohibited by Regulation (EC) No. 850/2004 as persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
Large numbers of substances have been withdrawn following reviews. This may be for reasons of safety or because companies took commercial decisions not to support substances through the review process. National reviews have been conducted in the UK in the past, but this work has in recent years been co-ordinated at EU level under Council Directive 91/414/EEC and Regulation (EC) 1107/2009.