Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland
If you dispose of waste pesticides to land, you must have an authorisation from your environmental regulator. You must comply with your authorisation in order to meet the cross compliance rules of the single farm payment scheme.
Only use pesticides under the terms of their approval. These should be clearly shown on their packaging.
If you use pesticides professionally you must have received adequate training in using pesticides safely. In some circumstances you will need a qualification called a certificate of competence. In general you will need to hold the certificate if you use agricultural pesticides. Agricultural pesticides are pesticides used:
Details of when you will need a certificate of competence are included in section 2 of the codes of practice for using plant protection products.
If you are using pesticides, apply to the City & Guilds Land Based Services (for Northern Ireland and Scotland) or the Scottish Skills Testing Service. If you are using fumigants, apply to the British Pest Control Association.
When using pesticide sprayers do not use water taken from the nearby streams, rivers, lochs or ponds unless:
You must prepare pesticides for application and clean your pesticide sprayers in a way that prevents spillages, washings and run-off from entering the water environment.
From 26 November 2015 Grandfather Rights expire and pesticide spraying must be carried out by someone with the appropriate certificate.
Pesticide-treated plants must not be soaked in any part of the water environment.
Details on filling equipment used to apply pesticides are included in section 4 of the codes of practice for using plant protection products.
If you carry out aerial spraying you must make sure that:
You must have approval from your environmental regulator before using herbicides on aquatic weeds or weeds on the banks of watercourses such as rivers, ditches or lochs/loughs.
For certain pesticides that you apply using ground crop sprayers or broadcast air-assisted sprayers you need to maintain an aquatic buffer strip between the area you spray and watercourses. The product label will specify the width of the buffer strip that you will have to maintain.
Under certain circumstances, and depending on the pesticide used, you may be able to reduce this aquatic buffer.
If you want to reduce the width of this strip you will also need to carry out and record a Local EnvironmentalRisk Assessment for Pesticides (LERAP).
In Scotland you must not apply organic fertilisers to:
You must not apply livestock slurry on frozen land.
You must not apply inorganic fertilisers to land that:
In Scotland it is an offence to apply organic or inorganic fertiliser to land in excess of the nutrient needs of the crop.
Check the codes of good agricultural practice
You must never dispose of waste pesticide to a soakaway, watercourse or drain.
If you cannot apply dilute pesticide washings to a crop in accordance with the product label, you may be able to dispose of them to land under an authorisation from your environmental regulator.
You must comply with your duty of care when you deal with agricultural waste such as pesticide and pesticide containers.
If you dispose of pesticides using options other than disposal to land under an authorisation from your environmental regulator, you may need to treat pesticide waste as hazardous/special waste.
In Scotland you may treat pesticide solution or washings in a lined biobed, but you must register an exemption with your environmental regulator before you do this. This is called a paragraph 42 exemption in Scotland.
In Northern Ireland you are no longer allowed to use a drum incinerator to burn empty pesticide containers.
In Scotland, you can use a drum incinerator in certain circumstances, but you must first register an exemption with SEPA. Contact your local SEPA office before you consider burning containers. You should first consider reusing or recycling plastic containers.
Guidance on handling and disposing of pesticide waste, contaminated material and equipment and pesticide packaging is included in section 5 of the codes of practice for using plant protection products
Only store enough pesticide for your immediate use.
Keep pesticides in a locked, dedicated store which:
Check that your store does not contain pesticides that have been withdrawn from use, eg atrazine.
Further detailed guidance on how you can store pesticides safely and legally is available from the Health and Safety Executive's agriculture information sheet 16 and from section 3 of the codes of practice for using plant protection products.
To avoid wasting pesticide:
Specify an area on the farm where you will fill and rinse sprayer containers. Make sure this area is well away from drains, watercourses, wells, springs and boreholes. In Scotland this area may drain to a biobed.
Use a vegetative buffer strip next to watercourses. Do not apply pesticides to this area.
Do not apply pesticides:
The following codes of good practice provide more guidance on pesticides.
In Northern Ireland, see section 6 of the DARD 'Code of good agricultural practice for the prevention of pollution of water, air and soil', and the DARD 'Code of practice for using plant protection products'.
In Scotland, see section 9 of the 'Prevention of environmental pollution from agricultural activity (PEPFAA) code' and the 'Code of practice for using plant protection products', from the Scottish Government.
The Voluntary Initiative is industry led and provides guidance on best practice, training and advice.
Keep up to date with pesticides laws with our pesticides guidance.
The Northern Ireland Environment Agency has published a short guide to the duty of care responsibilities including advice and information for waste producers, carriers and those accepting, storing and treating waste.
Any person intending to alter the use or management of areas of uncultivated or semi-natural land must obtain prior approval from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).
Read more on the DAERA website
The NetRegs team at SEPA, in partnership with The Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales and a number of industry bodies have produced 9 new GPPs to replace out of date PPGs. More are coming! Check the available topics
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