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Certificates of Competence for the Application of Pesticides

On 26 November 2015, the ‘grandfathers rights’ exemption was withdrawn.  This exemption allowed anyone born before 31 December 1964, to use plant protection products (PPPs) authorised for professional use on their own or their employer’s land, without having to hold a certificate (of competence) although they still had to be suitably trained and competent for their job.

All sprayer operators applying plant protection products (PPPs) authorised for professional use (pesticides) must now hold a recognised certificate of competence, whether working on their own land or when working as a contractor.

Note that it is now an offence for anyone to purchase PPPs authorised for professional use unless they ensure that the intended end user has a certificate of competence.

There is a large amount of information available (for a start see The Voluntary Initiative website), but there appear to be three options:

  1. Take the new Level 2 Award in the Safe Use of Pesticides Replacing Grandfather Rights – allows you to apply ~PPPs on your own land;
  2. Take the existing Level 2 Safe Use of Pesticide (PA) Certificate, appropriate to the type of equipment you use; allows you to spray on your own land or as a contractor.
  3. Employ a qualified contractor for all professional pesticides applications. See the BCG list of contractors.


The use of Hand held equipment to Control Bracken using Asulam

This paper was prepared by Roderick Robinson in 2013, and it represents the summation of decades of experience in developing control techniques.

Application of Asulam by hand-held equipment



Build up to the decision not to re-register asulam under revised EU Regulations 

The following documents relate to failure to get approval to re-register Asulam:

3 November 2011

Letter from Richard Benyon, MP, Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries

3 November 2011

Letter from Richard Lochhead, MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment

5 October 2011

 CRD Emergency Authorisations

5 october 2011

 UPL Supply Update

3 October 2011

 Scotland's Moorland Forum letter

27 September 2011

 Defra Update on Asulam

22 September 2011

 UPL Statement on Asulam

20 September 2011

 EU Draft Implementing Regulation

20 September 2011

 Result of Appeal Committee Meeting

16 September 2011

 Statement in Support of Asulam

12 September 2011

 UPL letter to Standing Committee

Knowledge Scotland briefing


Bracken and the Asulam Ban

Knowledge Scotland published a briefing by Professor Robin Pakeman that summarises the amount of bracken controlled by the aerial application of asulam in the period 1978 - 2010.  It provides an estimate of what the bracken cover might have been if asulam on this scale had not been applied.  

The estimated 50% reduction in the area of bracken that has been achieved in this period certainly provides some justification for the importance of the work to maintain the availability of asulam. 


Can pigs control bracken?

Miniature pigs are being offered to control bracken in Cumbria.  See the article from the Westmoreland Gazette for more information.