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Enforcement: An Introduction

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A thorough system of administration has been put in place to control the advertisement, sale, storage, supply and use of pesticides. Wherever possible guidance and advice is given to prevent the rules being breached. However, when appropriate, enforcement is achieved by means of prosecution and the issuing of enforcement notices.

Regulatory Update 25/2012 provided information to local Authorities on the delegation of enforcement powers for the purposes of enforcing the Plant Protection Products Regulations 2011 and the Plant Protection Products (Sustainable Use) Regulations 2012.

Farmers and growers are required by law to take all reasonable precautions when using pesticides to protect the health of human beings, creatures and the environment. Advice on how to meet their responsibilities under this legislation is given in the statutory 'Code of Practice for Using Plant Protection Products'

Responsibilities for Enforcement

Responsibility for enforcement is shared between the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), local authorities and the Agriculture Departments.

The HSE are authorised to enforce controls on the storage and use of pesticides as part of the work activity such as by industrial users in the treatment of timber, in private dwellings by professional contractors, use in agriculture and the storage of pesticides by certain distributors, and use by Local Authorities and public utilities. They are also responsible for the use of pesticides as part of a work activity in private dwellings.

Local authorities enforce controls in respect of the advertisement, sale, supply, storage and use for those areas not under HSE's jurisdiction, such as wholesale and retail premises, hotels and residential accommodation, warehouses, museums, catering establishments, sports grounds (including golf courses), gardens, parks and garden centres. Local authority responsibility is usually split between trading standard officers, who are responsible for consumer aspects of advertising, sale and supply and environmental health officers, who undertake enforcement in respect of storage and use in areas not covered by the HSE. Some Local Authorities, however, combine these functions.

Incidents Involving People

If anyone believes that they have been adversely affected by pesticides they should report the matter immediately. Further information on how to report incidents of exposure to pesticides.

The Pesticide Incident Appraisal Panel

The HSE Pesticide Incident Appraisal Panel (PIAP) considers all investigated incidents where the agricultural use of pesticides may have affected a person's health. The Panel receives full information about each incident, including a report of the field investigations carried out by HSE together with the results of any medical investigation and the known or suspected adverse effects of the chemical involved. If evidence does emerge concerning the safety of a particular product then the authorisation of that product can be reviewed and could result in its authorisation being restricted or even withdrawn.

Annual Questionnaire On The Possible Effects of Pesticides on Human Health

Authorisation holding companies are under an on-going obligation to submit immediately any new information on the potentially dangerous effects of a product or of residues of an active substance contained in a product, on human or animal health, ground water or the environment. In order to check whether this reporting system is functioning effectively CRD carries out a survey of all human health incidents reported to Approval Holders each year.

Wildlife Incidents

The Agriculture Departments are responsible for the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS), which monitors the impact of agricultural pesticides on wildlife. Where incidents are caused by misuse or abuse of pesticides, enforcement action is taken where appropriate. Offenders are prosecuted whenever sufficient evidence is available.

If you think people, animals or the environment have been harmed by exposure to pesticides guidance on Reporting Incidents is available.

Enforcement Monitoring of Pesticides

Enforcement monitoring is carried out to ensure that residue levels do not exceed the legal level and also to indicate if there have been any incidents of misuse of pesticides.

Further Information


Updated 2020-07-17