Important provisions of the European Communities (Sustainable Use of Pesticides) Regulations 2012 come into effect on the 26th November 2015.  From that date, professional users of pesticides must have completed an approved pesticide course and registered with the Department of Agricultural, Food & Marine and only they can apply pesticides authorised for professional use.

Who is a Professional Pesticide User?

A professional pesticide user is any person who uses pesticides stated on the label to be for professional use in the course of professional activities, regardless of the method of application or quantity applied and include farmers, gardeners, landscapers, green keepers, Council worker, growers, operators, technicians and those involved in farming, horticultural, forestry, landscaping and other associated activities.

How to Register

Farmers must have completed an approved pesticide course.  Those who have completed the Pesticide Application module as part of a Teagasc (FETAC Level 5 or 6) course already meet the requirements for professional user training.  Those who have completed the Teagasc standalone Pesticide Application short course (Level 5) will also be deemed appropriately trained.  The Department will decide if alternative qualifications meet its requirements on a case-by-case basis.  For a useful link see www.teagasc.ie/training/course/pesticide training.asp for approved courses and to confirm whether you are already qualified.  To register with the Department go to http://www.pcs.agriculture.gov.ie/sud/sudreg/

Record keeping

Persons not registered as professional users may buy pesticides authorised for professional use but they can be applied only by a registered professional user or by a person operating under the direct supervision of a registered professional user.  A record must be kept of the registered professional user who applied the pesticides.  Non-registered individuals who purchase pesticides authorised for professional use will be required by the retailer to give full name, address and contact details, which are then held on a Register and spot checks will be made by the Department on people who have purchased such products.  A farmer who purchases pesticides but who gets a contractor – who is a registered professional – to apply them, need not register but must keep a record of all pesticides applied.

Testing of Equipment

All boom sprayers greater than 3m and all blast and orchard sprayers must be tested at least once before the 26th November 2015 by a registered Inspector.  A list of registered inspectors is available on www.pcs.agriculture.gov.ie

Home Gardeners

Home gardeners can, of course, still continue to use non-professional amateur garden products and pesticides and your hardware store or garden centre will advise.  However, any individual applying professional gardening products must be registered by the 26th November 2015.

Penalties

Breaches of the regulations are subject to a penalty of €250 but it is envisaged that this will be increased in the future to a percentage of Single Farm Payments where appropriate.

Minister Simon Coveney, expects the regulations to achieve a sustainable use of pesticides by setting minimum rules to reduce the risks to the health of operators, bystanders, consumers and to the environment, associated with pesticide use and to ensure the continuity of the quality of our water sources.