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Annual Report 2017


'Pesticides in the UK: The 2017 report on the impacts and sustainable use of pesticidesis available to download as an interactive PDF  (3.5MB file, 56 pages). The report combines the Forum’s annual and indicators reports. It outlines progress made with activities promoting the sustainable use of pesticides, and identifies issues needing further monitoring or work. Data and charts illustrating progress and trends in many of the indicators are presented in the annex.

This report also gives an overview of the range of subjects covered by the work of the Pesticides Forum in 2017. Its structure reflects the format of the EU Directive on the sustainable use of pesticides (2009/128/EC).

The indicators in this report suggest that pesticides are being used in an increasingly sustainable fashion as a result of government, industry and other bodies working collaboratively. 

Our training indicator data show a notable rise in the number of pesticide users obtaining qualifications which demonstrate their knowledge of safe use of pesticides. This is expected, following the introduction of new legal requirements in November 2015. In addition, increasing numbers of these users engage with continuing professional development (CPD) schemes, demonstrating a commitment to keeping their knowledge and expertise up to date. They are supported by professional and well-trained distribution and advisory industries. The users, distributors and advisors are in turn assisted by organisations such as the Voluntary Initiative and Amenity Forum which provide practical, clear and regularly updated guidance on how to best use pesticides.

Farm Assurance Schemes and the Amenity Assured Standard provide a framework within which the guidance can be applied and standards monitored. However, the level of engagement with assurance and standards schemes does vary in different sectors of pesticide use.

Another key requirement is that pesticide application equipment is tested on a regular basis. The data in this report suggest that the impact of this requirement has been relatively modest, reflecting the fact that industry-led approaches have been successful in embedding such practice within agricultural and horticultural practice. Better data are required on the impact of the testing regime in the other sectors.

An important objective is assessing the short and long-term effects of pesticides on human health. This report includes, for the first time, data from the National Poisons Information Service based on enquiries from health professionals. This provides an indication of particularly acute effects. Information on chronic effects is more challenging to obtain, due to the range of factors that can affect long-term health and the timescales necessary to generate sufficiently robust information. We are monitoring the work of the Prospective Investigation of Pesticide Applicators’ Health (PIPAH) study in this regard.

We are getting better information on the impact of pesticides on water quality, with an improved understanding of the impact and implications arising from this. The data allow us to identify products of concern, their pollution pathways, and options for mitigating risks. The evidence available to us suggests pollution generally arises from diffuse as opposed to point sources.

The report also contains information on pesticide use in amenity situations. Although significant progress has been made to enable greater sustainability of pesticide use in this sector, more remains to be done. It has proved challenging to obtain good information on pesticide practice and use in this sector. Details from a major survey of practice and use in amenity situations are included, but it should be noted that the level of participation in this survey means it is not possible to conclude that results are representative of the national picture.

Assessing the extent to which integrated pest management (IPM) is employed by pesticide users is also challenging. We know from previous studies that virtually all farmers employ some practices that are consistent with the principles of IPM described in the sustainable use directive. The challenge is to establish whether use of integrated approaches is being optimised and the impact they are having. The limited data presented in this report suggest users now have greater access to a range of control measures. Furthermore, as training courses have afforded a higher priority to this method of controlling pests, weeds and diseases, it would seem reasonable to assume users have greater awareness of it.

This report is relevant to anyone with an interest in both the impacts and sustainable use of plant protection products. It is published in electronic format only, though it is of sufficient quality for you to print out a copy if you wish.

You will need Adobe pdf reader to view this PDF report. Click here if you need to install Adobe Reader.



Additional Resources:

Past Annual Reports (1996-2016) and supporting presentations 

Each Annual Report records the various activities undertaken by members and summarises topics the Forum considered during the year. They also include a full update of indicators adopted by the Forum to reflect the progress made in encouraging farmers and growers to minimise their use of pesticides.

In the years between 2004 and 2007, a separate Indicators Report was produced.

For the years 2009 to 2015, key information, charts and graphics on pesticides indicators in the annual reports were produced in a separate PowerPoint presentation.

Links to these supporting Indicators Reports and PowerPoint presentations are provided in the table of past annual reports.