March 10, 2014

Changes to Current Rules on Grandfathers Rights for Pesticide Users

Commodity Watch - News

UFU meets with DARD and CAFRE representatives to discuss the new spraying law changes. Left to right: Front: Barclay Bell, UFU Vice President, Karen Hughs & Brian Ervine, Environmental Policy, DARD, Back: Steven Johnston & Jonathan McFerran CAFRE

A current exemption for Pesticides users in UK law is commonly known as “grandfather rights”.   This allows anyone born on or 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 should still be suitably trained and competent for their job. 

The Plant Protection Products (Sustainable Use) Regulations 2012 allows this exemption to continue until 26 November 2015.  After this date everyone who USES PPPs authorised for professional use must hold a certificate of competence.   In addition, after 26 November 2015, it will be an offence for anyone to purchase PPPs authorised for professional use unless they have ensured and can guarantee that the intended END USER holds a relevant CERTIFICATE OF COMPETENCE.

Are you prepared for the changes to the “Grandfather Rights” exemption?  

Do you currently operate under the “Grandfather Rights” exemption to use plant protection products authorised for professional use on crops, land, produce, materials, buildings which are owned, occupied or rented by you or your employer without holding a Certificate of Competence? What is changing? – The rules are changing and the “Grandfather Rights ” exemption will cease on 26 November 2015 to meet the requirements of the EU Directive on the Sustainable Use of Pesticides. You will require the new level 2 certificate in the safe use of pesticides if you are going to continue to use pesticides.

 The UFU recently met with CAFRE and DARD Environmental Policy representatives to discuss the provision of training and certification options for the industry.  It was agreed that CAFRE will provide two assessment options to the industry with or without training. The training will be provided free of charge to farmers. As is currently the case, there will be a charge for registration and certification with City and Guilds and the assessment.

Option1 – Existing Certification route.

Obtain the PA1 (Foundation Module) and one of the existing Level 2 Safe Use of Pesticide awards, the PA2a (Boom Sprayer) or Pa6a (Knapsack sprayer) depending on the type of work you undertake and type of equipment you use. Currently CAFRE provides one days training for each award and the assessments require 1, 2 and 3 hours for the PA1, PA2a and PA6a, respectively. It is important to recognise that you must take this route if you intend to work as a contractor or apply PPPs to land you or your employer do not own.

Option 2 – The New Level 2 Certificate in the Safe Use of Pesticides

City and Guilds Land Based Services has developed a new Level 2 Award in the “Safe Use of Pesticides”, specifically for farmers who have been operating under “Grandfather Rights”.

The new qualification will take account of the fact that people working under “grandfather rights” should already have some form of training and may have many years experience in working with pesticides.

The qualification is divided into four units. Unit 051 is mandatory and the candidate is to choose a further one or more unit from 052, 053 and 054. 

051 – The Principles of the Safe Handling and Application of Pesticides on own Land

052 – Hand Held Pesticide Application on own Land

053 – Operating Machines to Apply Pesticides to own Land

054 – Application of Pesticides using other Specific Equipment or Methods on own Land

Currently CAFRE is developing the training plans, in conjunction with the industry to progress this course.

The New Level 2 Certificate work booklet can be found at the link:


  • Both Option 1 and 2 will allow farmers to purchase and spray pesticides on land they own and occupy.
  • Only Option 1 (the existing route) allows farmers to spray on land they do not own or occupy.
  • The Pa1 module within Option 1 (the existing route) is assessed via an on-line questionnaire whereas in Option 2 (New Qualification), Unit 051 will be assessed by verbal questioning.

To help gauge industry demand and ensure sufficient resources are made available to meet this important industry need please register an expression of interest in attending one of the options please click here. If you require any further information, please contact Industry Training Administration Team at CAFRE Greenmount Campus on 0300 200 7841 or by email

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