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COPR background

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This page provides background about COPR and details the statutory requirements of the Regulations.

Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 (FEPA) and Control of Pesticides Regulations (COPR) 1986

Part III of the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 (FEPA) introduced the principle of statutory controls on pesticides and provided the overall legal framework for the control of pesticides in Great Britain.

FEPA was implemented through the Control of Pesticides Regulations (COPR) 1986 (as amended 1997). Under COPR all pesticides (including biocides classed as non-agricultural pesticides) must gain approval before their advertisement, sale, supply, storage or use is permitted in Great Britain. Anyone who advertises, sells, supplies, stores or uses a pesticide is affected by the Regulations, including people who use them in their own home.

Approval of a product under COPR

Approval is granted by Ministers following an application from a manufacturer, formulator, importer or distributor (or in certain circumstances a user) supported by the necessary data on safety, efficacy and, where relevant, humaneness.

Approval is normally granted only in relation to individual products and only for specified uses, and products remain subject to immediate revocation, suspension or amendment at any time if safety considerations so demand.

Each product approval is granted subject to specific Conditions of Approval, which are legal requirements and must be observed. These conditions are recorded in the legal documents produced at the end of the application for approval, and are also reflected on the product label to ensure that it can be used safely with regard to both man and the environment. Following approval, products are subject to an ongoing review programme, which ensures that the data on which product approvals are based meets current safety standards.

There are also general conditions known as 'consents'. The advertisement, sale, supply, storage and use of pesticides is prohibited unless the conditions of consent set out in the appropriate Schedules to the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986 (as amended) are met.

Approval is a legal requirement and it would be an offence to; advertise, sell, supply store or use non-approved pesticides or use an approved pesticides in a manner that does not comply with the conditions of approval.

HSE, local authority inspectors and trading standards officers are all responsible for enforcing these legal requirements.

Updated 2020-11-16