Pesticide enforcement officer visits

What will happen during the visit

The role of a pesticide enforcement officer (PEO) is to conduct official controls on operators throughout the plant protection product (PPP) supply chain in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales). Operators include importers, manufacturers, formulators, those who package and label plant protection products, distributors/sellers and users of plant protection products authorised for professional use.

The aim of a visit is to check how well you’re complying with your duties under plant protection product law. These controls are not just on formulated products but extend to active substances and safeners, synergists, co-formulants and adjuvants. The official controls performed on site will depend on your role and obligations under law and may include confirmation of the registration submitted under the Official Controls (Plant Protection Products) Regulations 2020.

Your compliance with the Employer’s Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 (ELCI) will also be checked.

Although the purpose of the visit is not to check compliance with general health and safety law, if during a visit, the PEO identifies a potential serious breach of health and safety law, they may refer this issue to a local health and safety inspector.

What the officer will need to see

During the visit a PEO may ask to see, if relevant:

What the PEO might ask about

While the PEO is with you, they may ask:

Who the officer will need to speak to

The PEO will need to speak to employees who are responsible for the company complying with its duties under the PPP law or have enough knowledge to be able to answer questions about the company’s approach to PPP duties.

What happens if the PEO finds something wrong

The PEO may take action if they find you are breaking the law during the visit.

They may also tell you to stop a dangerous activity in your workplace immediately if it relates to duties covered by plant protection product law. If the duties relate to general health and safety, the PEO may refer their concerns to a local health and safety inspector.

You will not be charged for the visit, even if they need to write to you or serve an enforcement notice for breaking plant protection product laws.

What happens after the visit

After the PEO has finished looking around your workplace, they might:

We publish all enforcement notices on our website. PEOs, as with other Health and Safety Executive (HSE) staff, who take enforcement action will follow the principles and approach set out in HSE's Enforcement Policy Statement.


The PEO may give you advice, verbally or in writing, about some improvements you could make to comply with plant protection product law.


A PEO will only write to you if they consider you have broken any plant protection product law seriously enough that they need to do so. The letter will explain how you have broken the law. The letter will also tell you what you need to do to stop breaking the law.

PPP – enforcement notice - improvement

An improvement notice will tell you:

We will give you a reasonable amount of time period to make any changes. You will be committing a criminal offence if you don’t make the changes in the time we give you.

PPP – enforcement notice - prohibition

You may get an enforcement notice that requires you to stop doing something if it’s not allowed by the regulations. An example would be to stop selling an unauthorised plant protection product.

You may also be served a prohibition notice under such circumstances where an activity is unsafe. In this circumstance the notice orders you to stop doing something until you have made it safe to continue. This may apply in circumstances where a user is using a hazardous plant protection product without appropriate controls.


HSE can prosecute you for breaking plant protection product laws or for failing to comply with an improvement notice or a prohibition notice. If found guilty, the court can issue you with a fine.

Who to contact about a dispute

If you don’t agree with what we have decided when we write to you, you may be able to challenge our decision.  Formal appeals against enforcement notices will need to be done through judicial review. We will always tell you how you can challenge one of our decisions.

Please contact your PEO or their manager before you start any formal dispute. They may be able to look at the decision again.

Updated 2021-09-17