On the first of January this year, new pest control requirements came into play for EU countries. Some of the new requirements is for growers to follow integrated pest management principles. These changes mark the EU’s attempt to reduce our reliance on chemical control.
Here is your essential guide to the EU’s new pest control spray regulations, so that PCO’s can update their practices accordingly:
IPM, or Integrated Pest Management, deals with managing pests and diseases in an environmentally sensitive and responsible way. It attempts to avoid our over-reliance on chemical control and minimize the risks to wildlife and our health.
IPM promotes a whole range of natural pest control practices that should be used either instead of, or in support of, chemical methods to ensure that pesticide use is kept at levels that can be “economically and ecologically justified”. Examples include using varietal tolerance, crop rotation or cultivation techniques to prevent or suppress harmful organisms, anti-resistance, pest monitoring and using other biological, physical or non-chemical pest control methods.
So What’s Changing?
While many farmers across the British Isles will have already employed IPM procedures in one form or another, the situation is not the same across the rest of Europe. This is why it has been included as one of the specific requirements in the EU-wide Sustainable Use Directive (SUD).
The SUD stipulates that the UK government must be able to demonstrate that all farmers using pesticides are adhering to the general principles of integrated pest management.
But Do I Need To Bother With IPM?
While the onus may be on the government initially, and not the farmers themselves, to prove that the requirements of the SUD are being adhered to; experts agree that it is up to the industry to take the lead in showing compliance. This should remove the onerous legislation and regulations.
Every member state has developed its own National Action Plan to outline how SUD requirements will be adhered to. These will be reviewed every 5 years.
So How Do I Show IPM Compliance?
For any farmers completing the LEAF audit, you will already be following and recording your use of IMP techniques in appropriate detail to meet the new requirements (therefore there is no need for additional paperwork to be completed in this case).
IPM is already featured in many of the farm assurance schemes. However, due to the varying levels of recording across each scheme; it is highly unlikely that additional advice will be required.
The NFU is developing a new IPM plan (IPMP) for the Voluntary Initiative, which allows all farmers to show that they are using the techniques set out in the IPM scheme. The IPMP will be available by the end of February and it will replace the current CPMP (Crop Protection Management Plan). It is likely to be incorporated into farm assurance schemes in some form in the near future.
If you’re unsure about the EU’s new pest control spray regulations or would simply like to discover more, please go to the government’s website or click on this link.
Author Bio: Tony Bond is a well-known pest expert in North London and the founder of North London Pest Control. He is one of the UK’s leading authorities on bed bugs.