Regulating pesticides in the UK after Brexit
From 1 January 2021, an independent pesticides regulatory regime is in operation in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales).
New decisions taken under the EU regime will not apply in Great Britain. This includes active substance and maximum residue level (MRL) decisions and any new EU plant protection product (PPP) legislation.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will remain the national regulator for the whole of the UK, on behalf of the UK government and the devolved administrations.
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This guidance is for anyone working with PPPs. It is designed to help you understand how Brexit may affect PPP regulation and covers:
- Northern Ireland
- Changes to legislation
- Approvals, authorisations and MRLs
- Active substances
- Mutual recognition
- Following zonal and renewal applications
- Parallel trade permits
- Treated seed
- Pesticide users
Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement and Northern Ireland Protocol, EU PPP legislation continues to apply in Northern Ireland.
Pesticides and unfettered access for Northern Ireland goods to Great Britain
The UK Government has committed to unfettered access for qualifying Northern Ireland goods moving to the rest of the UK market.
The UK Internal Market Act 2020 enshrines in primary legislation that qualifying Northern Ireland goods will benefit from a new principle of mutual recognition - enabling goods to continue to be placed on the whole UK market, even where the Protocol applies different rules in Northern Ireland.
Mutual recognition allows a good that meets relevant regulatory requirements relating to sale in the part of the UK it is produced in, or imported into, to be sold in any other part of the UK.
This applies to rules on pesticide maximum residue levels (MRLs) in the same way it applies to rules on goods generally, to ensure effective functioning of the internal market.
This means treated produce from Northern Ireland produced in accordance with EU pesticide MRLs can be placed on the market in Great Britain even if EU and GB pesticide MRLs diverge, as long as it is a qualifying Northern Ireland good.
Accessing GB, NI and EU markets
To gain access to GB, NI and EU markets, new authorisations or amendments under both the GB and EU pesticides regimes may be required. This may be a common application where there is no divergence between the 2 regimes. Future applications for renewal of current authorisations and approvals may also need to be made under both the GB and EU pesticides regimes.
Applicants, authorisation holders and approval holders can be based anywhere in the world.
Changes to legislation
All relevant EU law in relation to the regulation of plant protection products has been retained in GB law and retains the same official titles, for example, Regulation (EC) 1107/2009.
Northern Ireland will continue to be subject to existing EU law.
The laws for Great Britain and Northern Ireland have identical titles, but they may have some differences in requirements for duty holders, over time.
Both sets of legislation are referred to with the same title.
For example, Regulation (EC) 1107/2009 means:
- In relation to Great Britain, Regulation (EC) 1107/2009 as it has effect in Great Britain
- In relation to Northern Ireland, Regulation (EC) 1107/2009 as it has effect by virtue of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland in the EU withdrawal
Approvals, authorisations and MRLs
All existing active substance approvals, PPP authorisations and MRLs continue to be valid in Great Britain.
Existing PPP authorisations remain valid until their current expiry date.
Active substance approvals due to expire before December 2023 have been extended for 3 years to allow time to plan and implement the GB review programme.
Great Britain sets MRLs based on our own assessments but all existing (EU) MRLs remain valid until they are amended. Applicants will need to continue to meet any existing conditions under the new GB pesticide regime.
MRLs in Great Britain and the EU may start to diverge over time, so businesses producing food for export or trading in food produce should consider the requirements in their target market.
Find out more about expiry dates and renewal of PPP active substances.
Applicants for new active substance approvals, PPP authorisations and MRLs in Great Britain should continue to submit applications to HSE in the same format. There will be no changes in data requirements or format for supporting information for new applications.
GB active substances
An active substance must be approved in Great Britain before it can be included in any PPP authorised for use in Great Britain.
When an active substance is approved in Great Britain, it will be included in a statutory active substance register.
A GB programme for the review of the safety of active substances is being developed and HSE will retain the power to review active substance approvals at any time, if new evidence identifies any concerns to human health or the environment.
No further mutual recognition applications can be accepted under the GB PPP regime. Any ongoing evaluations will be continued to a GB only decision. Where there is no divergence with EU conditions of authorisations, a GB and NI authorisation may be issued.
EU mutual recognition applications can continue to be considered for Northern Ireland.
Following zonal and renewal applications
Any following zonal and renewal applications currently waiting to be considered by HSE, where the zonal rapporteur member state (zRMS) is yet to conclude its evaluation, will be converted to Article 33 or Article 43 applications as appropriate. You will need to support these applications via one of the following methods:
- providing the registration report once it is finalised by the zRMS. Great Britain can then process the application, using that information, noting that the Part C would not be available
- requesting that Great Britain undertakes a full evaluation under Article 33 or Article 43. This would require the provision of further data to support the application. The guidance at the time of submission will be used, and extra fees charged as appropriate. We will issue guidance on how and when to do this
- submitting a new Article 33 or Article 43 application without supporting information from other member states. Again, this would require the provision of further data. Any new guidance and templates will apply
Under all 3 options, HSE will continue to a GB only decision. Where there is no divergence with EU conditions of authorisations, a GB and NI authorisation may be issued.
HSE will continue to make use of other regulators' assessments where relevant and appropriate to support GB decisions.
EU following zonal and renewal applications will be considered for Northern Ireland.
Parallel trade permits
HSE will no longer issue new applications for parallel trade permits in Great Britain. Existing parallel trade permits will continue until their current expiry date or until 31 December 2022, whichever is sooner.
Applications for parallel trade permits will be considered for Northern Ireland.
Seed that has been treated with a product authorised for that purpose in an EU member state can continue to be traded and used in Great Britain until 31 December 2023. After that, treated seed can only be traded and used in Great Britain if it has been treated with a PPP authorised for that purpose in Great Britain. During this period applicants should get any new GB PPP authorisations they need.
Existing PPP authorisations made under the EU pesticides regime remain valid in Great Britain. Authorised PPPs can be placed on the market and used in the same way as before.
Only use authorised products and always follow the instructions on the label to ensure MRL requirements are met in the domestic market where the food is grown. If produce is intended for export, check the MRL requirements in the target markets. MRLs in Great Britain and the EU may begin to diverge over time, which might affect which pesticide products you can use on produce intended for export.