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About the Forum

The Pesticides Forum's Membership

The Pesticides Forum is made up from representatives of 26 organisations covering the farming (conventional and organic production), farming equipment and pesticide industries; environmental and conservation groups; education and training; consumer interests and trades unions who provide a wide range of experience and views on this important sector. Representatives from all the Government Departments responsible for, or those who have an interest in, pesticides in the UK also participate in our meetings. A list of all current Pesticides Forum members and advisers is available here: Member Organisations .

The work

The Forum’s main task is to maintain stakeholder oversight of the UK pesticides National Action Plan and provide advice which allows the Government to monitor progress of the Plan and develop it further.

The UK’s Plant Protection Products (Sustainable Use) Regulations 2012 require the establishment of a National Action Plan (NAP) to describe how the UK will implement measures to meet the requirements of the EU directive on the sustainable use of pesticides.

The NAP covers: training; sales of pesticides; information and awareness raising; inspection of application equipment; aerial applications; measures to protect the aquatic environment and drinking water; reduction in risk in specific areas, handling and storage of pesticides and treatment of their packaging and remnants; Integrated Pest Management (IPM); and indicators.

Indicators

Indicators are an important way of helping to assess the impacts of pesticides on human health and the environment. They typically come in one of three forms:

  • those which measure impacts directly (e.g. residues detected in water bodies or foodstuffs);
  • those which measure impacts indirectly (e.g. the numbers of key farmland birds); or
  • those which measure the behaviour of pesticide users (e.g. users participation in continuing professional development).

Assessing the risks from the use of pesticides is largely addressed by the rigorous authorisation system. Firstly, no pesticide is authorised for use if it is shown to have an immediate or delayed harmful effect on human health or an unacceptable effect on the environment. Stringent conditions of use are often placed on products to ensure that they are used safely.

The impacts of pesticide use are carefully monitored to ensure that they are behaving as predicted by the authorisation process. This information, along with a review of the amount of pesticide used and the behaviour of pesticide users, forms the basis of some of the indicators in the Pesticides Forum's Annual Reports. However, using indicators to assess the risks arising from pesticide use is not a precise science. It inevitably involves pulling together relevant information and expert opinion to ‘paint a picture’.

In addition, the UK has established three groups to look into specific sectoral issues: the Grower Liaison Group; Amenity Use Liaison Group; and Amateur (home and garden) Liaison Group. In the event that further issues need investigation, the Pesticides Forum will consider using short-term working groups to examine these in detail.