Sustainable use directive - pesticides

Published 7 May 14

SUD information card 2014

All countries in the European Union are implementing the Sustainable Use Directive (SUD) in relation to pesticide use. The Directive applies in every EU country and sets minimum standards for the safe use of professional plant protection products (pesticides). Due to existing legislation and the Voluntary Initative (VI), many UK farmers and growers already meet most of the requirements of the Directive.

A working group has been established to help the grassland and forage sectors understand and deal with new regulations that will cover pesticides (weed killers, insecticides and slug pellets) and to highlight the need to use pesticides responsibly so that they do not get into the drinking water supply.

The grassland and forage sectors are challenging as they tend to be infrequent users, but weed killers are vital tools in effectively controlling common grassland weeds such as docks and thistles.  Weed killers applied to grassland and forage are amongst those most frequently detected in water courses.  For water companies, there is a significant additional cost, running into millions of pounds, of installing and running equipment to remove these products so that drinking water meets EU standards. It is possible that if this sector does not improve application standards then the use of these weed killers may be restricted further.

A short card detailing the key time points and actions in relation to SUD implementation can be downloaded from the resource library. Further more detailed information can be found on the VI website.