08 September 2022
"Government plan needs to be fit for purpose for all."
UK Awarding Organisation, Lantra, which develops and certifies specialist training and qualifications for the land-based sector, is working with growers ahead of the delivery of the Pesticides National Action Plan (NAP) which is expected to be released this Autumn.
A date for the NAP's publication is still to be confirmed and work to update related training and qualification products has therefore been on-hold until the full details of the plan are agreed and released.
The aim of the revised NAP is to minimise the risks and impacts of pesticides to human health and the environment, while ensuring pest and pesticide resistance is managed effectively.
In order to meet this aim, the revised NAP is to focus on five key goals, to:
1. Ensure continued robust regulation to protect our health and environment
2. Support the development and uptake of Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
3. Ensure those that use pesticides do so safely and sustainably
4. Support in the reduction of the risks associated with pesticides by setting clear targets by the end of 2022 and improving metrics and indicators.
5. Ensure that we work effectively with others to deliver the NAP goals
While it's essential that the use of pesticides does not pose unacceptable risk to environmental health or adversely affect human health, it's believed pesticides play an important role in supporting the UK’s plant health, crop production and maintenance of national infrastructure and public spaces. Targeted use of pesticides protects crops and natural landscapes from native and invasive non-native pests, supporting domestic food production and ecosystems and maintaining recreational, transport and amenity areas.
The 2013 UK National Action Plan was developed as a requirement of the Sustainable Use Directive and established actions to increase the sustainability of pesticide use in the UK including a framework of indicators for measuring success.
The UK has since left the EU, and the NAP was therefore due for revision. The updated document needs to reflect the increasing ambition for the UK environment while maintaining crop protection and fighting pesticide resistance.
Lantra stresses there is a clear need for regulation to be forward-facing, rigorously protective of health and the environment and responsive to the changing pressures faced by farmers, the amenity sector and amateur growers.
There have also been calls from industry for the UK to lead on sustainable pest management by embracing innovative science and technology, and supporting further development in genetics, biopesticides, nature-based solutions, and precision technology. Consultation has seen a call for amateur pesticides use to be more restricted, with the potential environmental risks of products to be made clearer on labels.
Lantra's Head of Industry Partnerships, David Fisher, has been part of discussions as to how this message can be best shared with both new and existing pesticides users through training, qualifications and CPD and its Chief Executive Marcus Potter said it's imperative to upskill and train people to ensure they work safely, productivity and sustainably in adherence to set regulations.
“The Government needs to listen to those in the know - those involved in the land-based professions such as horticulture and agriculture at the sharp end. Since the start of July 2022, DEFRA has been consulting with industry stakeholders on the priority messages and areas to be addressed," he said.
“One key area they have said is central to the document is reducing reliance on chemical usage through Integrated Pest Management (IPM), and Lantra has been part of discussions as to how this message can be best shared with pesticides users, both new and existing through training, qualifications and continuing professional development.
“While we’re confident the published plan will deliver for all, Lantra has asked to see the final plan document before it goes public.”