The ‘Grandfather Rights’ exemption for anyone applying plant protection products expires today, farmers and sprayer operators are being reminded.
Anyone applying pesticides to their own property or that of their employer must now be properly certified. In the absence of appropriate qualifications, the only alternative is to employ a qualified contractor to take on all pesticide application tasks.
So-called ‘Grandfather Rights’ were previously granted to sprayer operators born before December 31, 1964, allowing them to apply professional plant protection products to land, produce, materials and buildings owned, rented or occupied by them or their employer without the need to hold a certificate of competence.
However, from today (November 26, 2015), only individuals holding a recognised certificate of competence will be permitted to apply professional plant protection products, regardless of whether it is to their own property, their employer’s, or a third party’s.
Stephen Jacob, business development manager with BASIS, the independent certification and auditing organisation for the pesticide and fertiliser industries, says: “While there is no requirement for BASIS qualified advisers, agronomists and those selling crop protection products to check the spray certification of their customers and spray operators, it pays for them to ensure that there is someone on-farm who holds the correct certificates of competence, or that a qualified contractor is employed.
“Those purchasing professional plant protection products from November 26, 2015 must make sure that either they or the person applying the products holds a recognised certificate, such as the PA1 (pesticides application) and PA2 (tractor spraying) or PA6 (knapsack spraying).”
Tony Davies, portfolio manager and product specialist at City & Guilds NPTC, has worked closely with industry, employers and the Chemicals Regulation Directorate (CRD) to ensure the qualifications in the Safe use of Pesticides suite are fit for purpose, meeting both legislative requirements and the skills needs of today’s industry.
He says: “To achieve success at assessment the candidate has to demonstrate both their understanding and practical skills against approved criteria. The assessment is a rigorous process. The assessors have no involvement with the training of the candidate and therefore no vested interest in the outcome of the assessment. This means that those who hold the City & Guilds qualifications in the Safe use of Pesticides have genuinely proved their competence. This is what helps to make UK sprayer operators the best in Europe.”
The Level 2 Award in the Safe Use of Pesticides replacing Grandfather Rights is the required qualification from November 26, which allows farmers and spray operators to continue to apply crop protection products on their own property and that of their employer’s.
The test is still available from a variety of training providers, including City and Guilds (formerly NPTC). Once qualified, operators will meet the legislative requirements of The Plant Protection Products (Sustainable Use) Regulations 2012.
Anyone born after December 31, 1964 who wishes to apply professional plant protection products must take the required spray operator qualifications (PA1, and PA2 or PA6) in order to meet the legislative requirements.