The NFU is questioning the rationale behind these new requirements given the coverage of farm assurance and why the opportunity to fully engage with the industry has been missed.
While the OCR (Official Controls Regulations) introducing these new requirements are not new, there has been a concerning lack of consultation on how they are going to be implemented in a practical and meaningful way.
The NFU has contacted Defra for urgent discussions on the process of introducing new requirements.
Introduced in 2020, the OCR is a package of requirements, based on EU law, to ensure regulators are engaging with professional users and distributors of PPPs in a proactive way, establishing a risk-based approach to inspection and enforcement.
“We’re extremely disappointed about the complete lack of consultation with industry on these changes from Defra. And, the concerning feedback I have already heard from members since this requirement was published shows that consultation with farmers was desperately needed.”
NFU Vice President David Exwood
The stated aim is to ensure compliance with existing pesticide legislation, across agriculture, horticulture, amenity and forestry.
However, the regulations appear to overlook the UK’s farm-level assurance that is already designed to ensure PPPs are used responsibly in agriculture.
As a user of professional PPPs you’ll be asked to provide:
- your name
- your business address
- information about the quantity of professional PPPs you use and/or store in a typical year.
What to do
- Visit the Defra website to download the form to register as a user of PPPs: Professional plant protection products (PPPs): register as a user.
- Complete the form and email it to Defra at [email protected] by 22 June 2022.
The Defra web page also provides examples of PPPs and adjuvants as well as information on how the HSE will enforce the regulations.
NFU Vice President David Exwood said: “This additional red tape is very poorly timed, affecting farmers and growers when their businesses are already under significant stress from spiralling costs, in particular for fertiliser, feed and labour.
“We’re extremely disappointed about the complete lack of consultation with industry on these changes from Defra. And, the concerning feedback I have already heard from members since this requirement was published shows that consultation with farmers was desperately needed.
“We have contacted Defra to discuss these requirements as a matter of urgency, to share members’ concerns and better understand the role and use of the Register moving forwards. The industry already takes very seriously the responsible use of plant protection products in the UK through various farm-based assurance schemes, and we will challenge the purpose of the Register where it is evident that there are existing opportunities to ensure compliance with legislation which have been seemingly dismissed.”