Farm leaders are calling for the Scottish government to recognise that assurance membership demonstrates that businesses are complying with their duties under plant protection product (PPP) law.
A post-Brexit regulatory requirement entails the use of pesticide enforcement officer (PEO) inspections of businesses and users of professional pesticides, which is due to commence in October 2023.
In a joint statement, industry bodies are calling for users of pesticides who have their businesses audited as part of an assurance scheme to have ‘earned recognition’ and to be exempt from the government audit.
Groups who have issued the statement include NFU Scotland, Scottish Quality Crops (SQC), Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).
Farm and business audits are conducted annually as part of independent farm and trade assurance inspections. In Scotland, the relevant farm assurance bodies are SQC and QMS.
The organisations stated that duplication of audit was "an unnecessary bureaucratic burden" for all businesses and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
"We want Scottish government and the HSE to recognise that a successful assurance audit already demonstrates that businesses are complying with their duties under PPP law.
“Farm businesses and businesses who are audited annually and prove that they are compliant by achieving assured status, should have ‘earned recognition’ that they are complying with their duties under PPP law.
“In a commitment to remove red tape and improve simplification, we ask that HSE recognise farm and trade assurance standards as an appropriate and robust mechanism to inspect and assure businesses.
"It is an existing mechanism that gives businesses the earned recognition that regulations are being complied with.
“We call on Scottish government and HSE to recognise that the requirements of farm and trade assurance standards demonstrate compliance with businesses’ duties under PPP law.”