FAQ on Information on Pesticide Products

Q1. How do I find out if a plant protection product is authorised for use in GB/NI?

You can search our database of authorised pesticide products. The easiest way is to type in the 'MAPP Number' which is given on the plant protection product label. Otherwise you can use the product name. If the plant protection product has an authorisation, the database will show you details including the expiry date. If you click on the name of the product in the table, it will take you to full details of the product's authorisation including its Notice of Authorisation.

Q2. Does my plant protection product still have an authorisation?

As explained above you can check the authorisation status of a product by using our website database. If your search results in no record for the product that means the product is no longer authorised. If this is the case, you will need to dispose of it responsibly. Professional users will need to contact a specialist company that deals with these types of products. Amateur users should contact their local Civic Amenity site and ask them for guidance on disposal.

Please note: It is illegal to use or store any plant protection product that is no longer authorised. In some cases, the authorisation for using the plant protection product on a particular crop or situation may end before the expiry date for the plant protection product. If you wish to check whether this is the case, please see question 3 or contact us.

Q3. How do I check whether I can use a particular plant protection product on a particular crop?

You will need to:

  1. search our database of authorised pesticide products to find the plant protection product you are looking for;
  2. look at the detailed information on the 'notice of authorisation' for that plant protection product which will show the crops or situations where the product can be used;
  3. if the 'notice of authorisation' does not cover the crops you wish to treat you can also check whether there are any Extensions of authorisation for Minor Uses (previously known as 'off-label' approvals) for the product. These are authorised uses which are not given always given on plant protection products. They are only available for agricultural (professional) plant protection products. See Q5 for further information.

Q4. I have a problem with a particular pest/weed. What can I use to control it?

Our database does not give details of the problems that each plant protection product controls. This information can be found on the plant protection product label, from your plant protection products supplier, DIY shop or gardening centre, or from the Authorisation Holder (plant protection product company).

Q5. What are Extensions of authorisation for minor use (formerly know as 'off-labels' approvals)?

Extension of Authorisation for Minor Use (previously known as Specific Off-label Approvals or SOLAs) might not be listed on the product label. They only apply to agricultural uses of plant protection products and the user must accept any commercial risk from their use.

Users and Authorisation holders of agricultural plant protection products may apply to have the authorisation of a specific product extended to cover additional uses to those shown on the product label. Any such 'Extensions of Authorisation for Minor Use' granted may have additional conditions of use attached to them. Use in these cases is undertaken at the user's choice, and the commercial risk is entirely theirs. Users are required to be in possession of the relevant 'Extension of Use' details when using the product for that use and must follow any extra conditions of use as well as those given on the product label. Electronic copies of Extensions of Use can be obtained from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website Extensions of Authorisation for Minor Use database. Searches can be made by product name, crop and pests.

Q6. If a plant protection product is not authorised in GB/NI can it be used here?

No, if a plant protection product does not have an authorisation for use in GB/NI, it is illegal to use that plant protection product here.
There are several reasons why a plant protection product may not be authorised in GB/NI:

  • No one has applied for authorisation for the plant protection product in this country.
  • The Authorisation Holder/ Marketing company has withdrawn a previously authorised plant protection product from the market for commercial reasons such as declining sales, or a decision not to continue to support the product through EU Review processes for the active substance.
  • New evidence has shown that the 'active substance' (the chemical which makes it work) or product may be harmful to humans, animals or the environment, and previous authorisations have been revoked. Further information on the active substances which can be used in plant protection products is available on this website.

Q7. Why are some plant protection products withdrawn?

Voluntarily withdrawn plant protection products

A company may withdraw their plant protection product from the market because:

  • there are commercial reasons such as declining sales
  • the plant protection product is being reviewed and they do not want to pay for extra scientific studies to show it meets up-to-date safety standards.

It is possible that they may put the plant protection product back on the market in the future, if demand improves or if the extra scientific studies required to meet the latest standards are provided.

HSE enforced withdrawal of pesticide products

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) may withdraw the authorisation for a plant protection product if new evidence has shown that the 'active substance' (the chemical which makes it work) or product formulation may be harmful to humans, animals or the environment.

The marketing of plant protection products is subject to Regulation (EC)1107/2009. This Regulation prohibits use of any active substances in plant protection products unless they have been approved for that purpose in accordance with the Regulation.

Further information prohibited and non-approved substances is available.

Q8. Where can I find a list of active substances that are approved for use Great Britain?

The GB Pesticides Approvals Register contains details of the active substances that are currently approved for use in GB.

Q9. Where can I find a list of active substances that are approved for use in Northern Ireland?

Northern Ireland has retained EU legislation on plant protection products and therefore active substances that are approved for use in Northern Ireland are the same as those approved in the EU. The European Commission provides a database of active substances currently and previously approved for use in the EU.

The following guidance will help you to obtain an up to date list of the active substances in the European Union from the EC database:

  • Please go to the EU Pesticides database. Select 'Search active substances' on the left-hand side which will take you to another page.
  • Use the general search filter or the appropriate search options.
  • To export the complete list to an Excel file, select the 'Export Active Substances’ button.

Q10. If the authorisation on the label of a product is for use on Winter Wheat, can this be used on autumn sown Spring Wheat varieties?

Products only authorised for use on Winter Wheat can legally be used on Spring Wheat when this is sown in the autumn rather than the spring. However, before treating spring varieties sown in the autumn users should take note of any label varietal restrictions or contact the authorisation holder.

Q11. When does 'winter' end and 'spring' begin as far as the qualifiers are concerned?

HSE's risk assessment assumes crops sown/ planted up until the end of January in the year of harvest to be winter crops. Crops sown 1st February or later (for harvest in the same calendar year) are considered spring crops. Therefore, in general terms a winter crop is assumed to be sown/ planted anytime from late summer to the end of January in the year of harvest and a spring crop is assumed to be sown/planted on or after 1st February in the year of harvest.

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Updated 2024-01-26