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Practice

Plant Protection Equipment

The effects of plant protection products on the environment and in the users do not only depend on their composition but also on the way they are applicated.

While the testing and authorization of plant protection products in the EC are regulated in an EC-directive since 1991, there were no EC-wide applicable statutory provisions for plant protection equipment. To bring forward the Europe-wide harmonization of testing standards the JKI has launched a workshop-series as early as 2004. The third SPISE-workshop that took place at Brno (Czech Republic) on September 22 to 24, 2009, was aimed at explaining the testing obligations that under Article 8 of the sustainable use directive meanwhile were mandatory within the EC for plant protection equipment in usage. Another aim of the workshop was to show further necessity of action for the Member States.

Already in the course of the legislative process regarding the sustainable use directive it became apparent that, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, the EC would only establish a framework with some key elements. The Member States must fill and specify the frame. Thus the Member States obtain the flexibility and the room to manoeuvre they need to adapt the examination of the plant protection equipment in usage to their own experiences and national contexts. For this reason the SPISE-working group had concentrated the third workshop on Article 8 ‘Control of plant protection equipment’.

Under Article 8 para. 1 and 2 of the sustainable use directive the Member States must introduce regular checks with regard to plant protection equipment that is in usage. The time frames for such checks must be at the most after five years until 2020 and three years at the most thereafter. Furthermore all equipment must be checked once until 2016 at the latest. Such provisions are regarded as very appropriate, as by this all Member States are obliged to carry out recurring checks while those Member States that already have implemented a tight checking scheme with a thus higher protection level are not oblige to align and thus alleviate their provisions.