AIC calls on Scottish Government and HSE to recognise assurance in pesticide enforcement
The Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) has joined industry calls for the Scottish Government and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to recognise that assurance membership demonstrates businesses are complying with their obligations under Plant Protection Product (PPP) law.
The agri-supply trade association, which represents about 90% of the Crop Protection & Agronomy businesses operation in the UK, joined NFU Scotland (NFUS), Scottish Quality Crops (SQC) and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) are asking for a halt to the unnecessary burden of extra farm inspections due to start later this year.
A post-EU Exit regulatory requirement has prompted the HSE announce that Pesticide Enforcement Officer (PEO) inspections of businesses and users of professional pesticides is scheduled to begin in October 2023 under the Official Controls Regulation (OCR).
In a joint statement, AIC and the other farming bodies are calling for businesses and users of professional pesticides who have their businesses audited as part of a trade or farm quality assurance scheme to have "earned recognition" and to be exempt from a duplicate audit under the government scheme.
The organisations state: “We want Scottish Government and the HSE to recognise that a successful farm and trade assurance audit already demonstrates that businesses are complying with their duties under PPP law.
"Farm and business audits are conducted annually as part of independent farm and trade assurance inspections. In Scotland, the relevant farm assurance bodies are SQC and QMS.
“Farm businesses and businesses who are audited annually and prove that they are compliant by achieving assured status, should have ‘earned recognition’ that they are complying with their duties under PPP law. Duplication of audit is an unnecessary bureaucratic burden for all businesses and the HSE.
“In a commitment to remove red tape and improve simplification, we ask that HSE recognise farm and trade assurance standards as an appropriate and robust mechanism to inspect and assure businesses. It is an existing mechanism that gives businesses the earned recognition that regulations are being complied with.
“We call on Scottish Government and HSE to recognise that the requirements of farm and trade assurance standards demonstrate compliance with businesses’ duties under PPP law.”