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Information-gathering on determining the usage and usage patterns of amenity pesticides across the UK - PS2806

Pesticides are chemicals and biological products used to kill or control living organisms such as rodents, insects, fungi and plants. The aim of the proposed 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 plant protection products is understood to include all professional use outside of agricultural, forestry and horticultural activities, such as by local authorities, the Highways Agency, Network Rail, British Waterways, airport management, the Ministry of Defence, utility companies, and other private users (UK Government, 2008; and Defra/HSC/NAW, 2006).

In 2005, 21,800 tonnes of active substances were sold in the UK for plant protection products (PPPs) with approximately 700 tonnes for amenity and industrial use. In 2006, 31,000 tonnes of active substances were sold in total with approximately 1,000 tonnes for amenity and forestry use (Pesticide Forum, 2007; UK Government, 2006). However, 2008 data indicate a reduction in pesticide sales of approximately 5,000 tonnes of active ingredient (Pesticide Forum, 2009). UK, amenity and forestry sales of active ingredient are estimated to amount to almost 966 tonnes, generating £17.2 million (UK Government, 2008)

The 2007/8 amenity pesticide survey (RPA, 2008) found that, during 2006, 747 tonnes of active ingredient were used in PPPs by the amenity sector, 679 tonnes (91%) of which were herbicides and 68 tonnes (9%) were non-herbicides (algicides, fungicides, insecticides and moss-killers).

Plant protection products are a subset of pesticides containing 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.
In March 2006, the National Pesticides Strategy was launched with the stated aim of promoting uses of plant protection products that achieve high standards in environmental protection, whilst maintaining the economic viability of crop production (UK Government, 2006). An updated version of this strategy was published in March 2008 (UK Government, 2008).

The 2008 National Pesticides Strategy sets out special measures targeted at the amenity sector and includes the specific aim to, "establish ‘best practice’ in the use of pesticides in the amenity sector". 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 (Voluntary Initiative, 2006). Since 2007 the Amenity Forum has assumed the lead role in establishing best practice in the amenity sector while maintaining close links with the Voluntary Initiative Steering Group.

“Pesticides, Code of Practice for Using Plant Protection Products” published in January 2006, provides the official reference for good practice within England and Wales and, in December 2006, a parallel code of practice was published for use in Scotland, “Code of Practice for using Plant Protection Products in Scotland”. The two 2006 Codes of Practice provide guidance for UK PPP users, thus access and use of these codes were assumed to be an indicator of good practice along with the employment and use of BASIS qualified staff. RPA (2008) results indicate that 66% amenity users had ready access to one or other of these codes.

RPA (2008) also found the strongest influence on the use of amenity products was the “control of invasive (non-native) plant species” followed by public safety and legal considerations. Finally, 99% of amenity users consider using non-chemical methods at least some of the time and 43% always consider this possibility. However, 34% of amenity users stated that they used PPPs because chemical treatment was the more environmentally friendly option.
The objectives of this study are those set out in the Project Specification and 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   (94k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2010

To: 2011

Cost: £25,875
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Risk & Policy Analysts Ltd
Pest and Weed Control              
Pesticide use              
Plants and Animals              
Fields of Study
Pesticide Safety