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Food Safety

Sustainable use of pesticides

About the sustainable use of pesticides

The European Commission has adopted proposals for a new Regulation on the Sustainable Use of Plant Protection Products, including EU wide targets to reduce by 50% the use and risk of chemical pesticides by 2030, in line with the EU’s Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies.

These new proposals, adopted on 22 June 2022, are part of a package of measures to reduce the environmental footprint of the EU’s food system and help mitigate the economic losses that we are already suffering due to climate change and biodiversity loss. The main measures include:

  • Legally binding targets at EU level to reduce by 50% the use and the risk of chemical pesticides as well as the use of the more hazardous pesticides by 2030. Member States will set their own national reduction targets within defined parameters to ensure that the EU wide targets are achieved.
  • Environmentally friendly pest control: New measures will ensure that all farmers and other professional pesticide users practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM). This is an environmentally friendly system of pest control which focuses on pest prevention and prioritises alternative pest control methods, with chemical pesticides only used as a last resort.
  • A ban on all pesticides in sensitive areas: The use of all pesticides is prohibited in places such as urban green areas, including public parks or gardens, playgrounds, recreation or sports grounds, public paths as well as protected areas in accordance with Natura 2000 and any ecologically sensitive area to be preserved for threatened pollinators.

Other key measures include requiring Member States to set positive targets to increase the use of non-chemical pest control methods and requiring farmers and other professional users of pesticides to obtain independent advice on alternative methods to ensure greater uptake of non-chemical pest control methods.

The proposal transforms the existing Directive into a Regulation which will be directly binding and uniformly applicable to all Member States.

These proposals overhaul the existing rules on the Sustainable Use of Pesticides (see Directive 2009/128/EC) to bring them in line with the ambitions set in the EU Green Deal, Biodiversity and Farm to Fork strategies. The proposals must be approved by Member States in the Council and the European Parliament, under the normal legislative procedure.

Links:

Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive

Directive 2009/128/EC aims to achieve a sustainable use of pesticides in the EU by reducing the risks and impacts of pesticide use on human health and the environment and promoting the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and of alternative approaches or techniques, such as non-chemical alternatives to pesticides. EU countries have drawn up National Action Plans to implement the range of actions set out in the Directive.

The main actions relate to training of users, advisors and distributors of pesticides, inspection of pesticide application equipment, the prohibition of aerial spraying, limitation of pesticide use in sensitive areas, and information and awareness raising about pesticide risks.

EU countries must also promote Integrated Pest Management, for which, general principles are laid down in Annex III to the Directive.

The main purpose of this web-portal is to provide

  • key information on the sustainable use of pesticides and
  • links to relevant information contained on official websites in the Member States

There is a search function to help find the links you are looking for.

Reports from the Commission

Second Report from the Commission (May 2020) and Annex to the European Parliament and the Council on the experience gained by Member States on the implementation of national targets established in their National Action Plans and on progress in the implementation of Directive 2009/128/EC on the sustainable use of pesticides.

First Report from the Commission (October 2017) to the European Parliament and the Council on Member State National Action Plans and on progress in the implementation of Directive 2009/128/EC on the sustainable use of pesticides.

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The search tool gives access to Member State websites on the sustainable use of pesticides.

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