If you hold a BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection, whether through grandfather rights or by exam, then you may need to take action now in order to maintain your status when the Sustainable Use Directive is implemented in November 2011.
Managing Director of BASIS, Rob Simpson, explains: "The Sustainable Use Directive will oblige all advisers and agronomists to renew their qualifications regularly. That will probably mean every three years, so it is something that everyone needs to be aware of and start planning for now," he warns.
"There are likely to be two ways of meeting the requirement to renew. Re-sit the BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection exam, or demonstrate three years of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) through membership of the BASIS Professional Register. It is not yet clear when the regulations will require advisers to be certificated but it could be as early as 2014; although more likely 2015."
"Whatever date is chosen by Government, those wishing to use the Professional Register route to re-qualification will need to be able to demonstrate a number of years (probably three) of CPD involvement."
"So, as an example, if the date is set as 1st January 2014, then people will need to have joined the register by the end of this year."
"Calling all exemption holders, BASIS is particularly keen that those advisers who were granted an exemption from the now statutory requirement to pass the BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection exam, should be made aware of the situation. They need to join the Professional Register soon or they may be faced with the prospect of sitting the exam."
Letters of exemption were issued by BASIS to experienced advisers before the Control of Pesticide Regulations came into effect. "Quite a number of these exemptions were granted. We know that there are 370 exemption holders currently on the BASIS Professional Register but, what is not clear, is how many other exemption holders are still practising agronomists and how many of these will wish to continue after 13 December 2013 when the Sustainable Use Directive must be implemented."
Storekeepers also take note. The requirement for certificate renewal will also apply to pesticide storekeepers, so it is likely that all BASIS qualified storekeepers will need to attend refresher training every three years.
Experienced storekeepers were also granted exemption letters, and these people will also have to complete refresher training as all letters of exemption will be invalid under the new regulations.
Although the fertiliser sector is not covered by the Sustainable Use Directive, it is likely that the industry will follow a similar path to verify standards of certification in the future.