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Determining the usage and usage patterns of amenity pesticides across the UK - PS2230

Pesticides are chemicals and biological products used to kill or control living organisms such as rodents, insects, fungi and plants. This study is to determine the UK usage of ‘plant protection products’ in ‘amenity’ situations and determine the key drivers and the extent to which best practice is adopted for those involved in awarding contracts or carrying out weed control operations.

The amenity use of pesticides is undertaken by many organisation including local authorities, the Highways Agency, the Ministry of Defence, and sports and leisure organisations. However, amenity use can be summarised as any use other than for agricultural or horticultural purposes.

Plant protection products are a subset of pesticides that contain one or more active substances that are intended to (91/414/EEC, Article 2):

• protect plants or plant products against all harmful organisms or prevent the action of such organisms;
• influence the life processes of plants, other than as a nutrient (e.g. growth regulators);
• preserve plant products;
• destroy undesired plants or parts of plants; or
• check or prevent undesired growth of plants.

This study is within the context of past concern and action to limit any harmful effects that pesticides may have on human health and the environment and seeks to inform this ongoing process.

In 2001, the farming and crop protection industry proposed a five year programme of measures to minimise the environmental impacts from the pesticides which was accepted by the UK government and became known as the Voluntary Initiative. From 2006, a further proposal was made by industry and accepted by government, that the Voluntary Initiative should be extended in the form of a rolling two-year programme.

In March 2006, the government across the UK published the National Pesticides Strategy, ‘Pesticides and the Environment, A Strategy for the Sustainable Use of Plant Protection Products.’ The National Pesticides Strategy has the aim of promoting uses of plant protection products that achieve high standards in environmental protection, whilst maintaining the economic viability of crop production.

The National Pesticides Strategy sets out a number of action plans including the Amenity Use Action Plan, which is being overseen by an implementation group with the aim of minimising the impact of amenity uses on water pollution and biodiversity. Further to this, the Voluntary Initiative for pesticides has identified the amenity use of pesticides, including plant protection products, as being a potentially significant contributor to water pollution from hard surface uses and aquatic weed control, and as posing a threat to biodiversity from uses on amenity grassland. These Voluntary Initiative conclusions have been used to inform the Amenity Use Action Plan.

The National Pesticides Strategy states that a knowledge base is required covering the amenity use of plant protection products. This study contributes to that knowledge base by providing data on the usage of plant protection products and thus provides a baseline for the Amenity Use Action Plan. The study, therefore, updates such data for 1995 for England and Wales and extends the current knowledge base to include Northern Ireland and Scotland. This study also complements the data in a recent report (2006) for Defra detailing diffuse water pollution in the UK.
The objectives of this study, as set out in the Project Specification are to prepare a report detailing:

• the UK usage of plant protection products in amenity situations; and
• the key drivers and the extent to which best practice is adopted for those involved in awarding contracts or carrying out weed control operations.

To achieve the measurable and timebound objectives detailed above, the study will involve the completion of the following tasks:

• Task 1: Kick-off Meeting;
• Task 2: Data Gathering;
• Task 3: Analysis of Data; and
• Task 4: Reporting, Communication and Project Management.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Determining the Usage and Usage Patterns of Amenity Pesticides Across the UK.   (522k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2007

To: 2008

Cost: £32,679
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Risk and Policy Analysts Ltd
Environmental Impact              
Environmental monitoring              
Environmental Protection              
Establishing a sound database for waste management              
Fungicide use              
Herbicide use              
Insecticide use              
Pesticide use              
Weed Control              
Fields of Study
Pesticide Safety