"It is critical that all amenity industry stakeholders embrace the requirements of the directive and adapt their practices accordingly"
The recent adoption of the Sustainable Use Directive by EU Ministers will set new rules and vigorous standards for the sustainable use of pesticides, placing a duty of care on all users to ensure safety and 'Best Practice' at all times.
National Action Plans, with measurable targets, indicators and timetables to reduce the risks and impacts associated with pesticide use, are being introduced. It is critical that all amenity industry stakeholders embrace the requirements of the directive and adapt their practices accordingly to safeguard the enormous benefits of amenity pesticide use in areas such as sports and recreation, and to protect our transport and utilities infrastructure.
The new directive covers a number of key areas:
• A requirement to set-up training systems for distributors, advisors and professional users of pesticides and certification systems
• Measures to protect the aquatic environment and drinking water, public spaces and special conservation areas
• A requirement to ensure greater promotion and an approach of integrated vegetation management
• Regular inspection of pesticide application equipment
• Measures to ensure preference is given to the least hazardous products, and to promote the most efficient application techniques
In addition, The Water Framework Directive came into force on 22 December 2000, and was put into UK law in 2003. Countries must aim to reach good chemical and ecological status in inland and coastal waters by 2015. Good status means good ecology and good chemistry.
The Water Framework Directive is designed to:
• enhance the status and prevent further deterioration of aquatic ecosystems and associated wetlands, which depend on the aquatic ecosystems
• promote the sustainable use of water
• reduce pollution of water, especially by 'priority hazardous' substances such as pesticides
• ensure progressive reduction of groundwater pollution
It is important to keep amenity pesticides out of ground and surface waters in order to:
• prevent ecological harm
• prevent the contamination of drinking water sources
• to avoid failure of legislative standards
• to avoid further regulatory and legislative restrictions
The Environment Agency needs the amenity sector to adhere to Best Practice guidelines in order to ensure compliance with the Water Framework Directive targets.