Biocides: Find the right enforcement authority
If your biocides concern relates to a company based in, or an incident that has occurred in, Northern Ireland please visit the HSE NI website.
|If the incident / concern involves…||…it should be reported to…|
people – where someone has carried out a biocidal treatment in your home as part of their work, for example, a professional pest controller
people – where someone has carried out a biocidal treatment in your home not as part of their work, for example, yourself or another member of the general public
people – other than the scenarios described above
either HSE - Reporting an incident or concern or your local authority depending on the type of place involved –
animals, including wildlife, livestock and pets / companion animals
Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme
authorisation or approval
retail sale, including online and in physical stores
If you’re still not sure which authority you should report to, don’t worry! All of the authorities work together, so we will make sure your report gets to the right place.
Other ways the authorities work together include:
- sharing information, for example HSE can provide other authorities with:
- advice on the GB Biocidal Products Regulation (GB BPR) and the Control of Pesticides Regulation (COPR), and on how individual products are affected by it
- details of the approval / authorisation status of individual products and the conditions placed on them
- copies of the approval / authorisation documents
- supporting prosecutions, for example, by providing witness statements
The responsibilities of the different authorities described in the table above come from general health and safety law working in combination with more specific enforcement laws for COPR and GB BPR.
General health and safety law
GB BPR specific law
- Biocidal Products and Chemicals (Appointment of Authorities and Enforcement) Regulations 2013 (BPC Regs) – originally written in the context of the UK as part of the EU
- Chemicals (Health and Safety) and Genetically Modified Organisms (Contained Use) Amendment etc) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (CGMO Regs 2019) – amends the BPC Regs in the context of the UK no longer being part of the EU
- Chemicals (Health and Safety) and Genetically Modified Organisms (Contained Use) (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 (CGMO Regs 2020) – amends the CGMO Regs 2019 in the context of the Northern Ireland Protocol and a GB only regime
COPR specific law
These laws also define a number of offences and the powers that the authorities may use. Find out more about offences and powers.
Schemes and activities
HSE also runs a number of schemes and activities focussed on the effects of the use of biocidal products in particular areas.
Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS)
The Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS) investigates the death and illness of wildlife, livestock, pets (usually cats and dogs) and beneficial invertebrates (usually honey bees, bumble bees and earthworms) that are suspected to be caused by poisoning from biocides (or pesticides).
WIIS is primarily a monitoring tool that provides additional information to HSE, which may prompt the reassessment of authorised products to prevent further incidents. However, enforcement action may also be taken where there is clear evidence of a breach of the law.
Adverse effects reporting
Action for approval / authorisation holders
COPR and GB BPR require product approval and authorisation holders to report new information about products and active substances that may affect their approval or authorisation. You should report to HSE without delay if you become aware of:
- any data or information concerning the adverse effects of an active substance or biocidal product on:
- people – particularly vulnerable groups
- the environment
- any data or information that might indicate an active substance is contributing to the development of resistance in pest populations
- any data or information that might indicate a biocidal product is not sufficiently effective
You should include as much information as possible in your reports, including:
- product name
- COPR HSE number or GB BPR authorisation number
- type of incident (approved use, accident or misuse)
- who or what was affected (person, animal (including type and species) or the environment)
- when, where and how the exposure happened
- symptoms reported
- treatment details
- long-term effects
- any advice issued
The information reported to HSE may prompt the reassessment of authorised products to prevent further incidents. However, enforcement action may also be taken where there is clear evidence of a breach of the law.
To ensure that HSE is receiving this information, we conduct an annual survey where approval / authorisation holders are required to tell us about any information they have received concerning the adverse effects described above.
Please note: this does not mean you should wait for us to write to you! If you have received information concerning adverse effects, you must tell us without delay.
The results of the survey are compiled into an anonymous report – approval / authorisation holders and products will not be identified. For the latest report, or reports from previous years, please contact us.