After an absence of nearly a decade, the BCPC Congress 2013 – Focus on EU Regulatory Affairs – received a vote of approval when it returned to the Hilton Metropole Hotel, Brighton last week. This event, organised by BCPC in association with TSGE FORUM, targeted regulatory professionals, and provided an opportunity to be updated on the implementation and impact of the EU Plant Protection Product 1107/2009 legislation, and the associated EU Sustainable Use Directive.
The regulatory environment as a key driver of agricultural practice and innovation in the EU, was reflected in plenary addresses on the outlook for the crop protection industry in Europe delivered by Gordon Rennick, (Pesticide Registration and Control Division, Dept of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland), and on the evolution of environmental protection presented by Professor Lorraine Maltby, University of Sheffield.
Representatives of Member State regulators, including the UK CRD and a number of the agrochemical companies, shared views on the issues of implementation of the legislation (legal uncertainties, AIR programme, comparative assessment and zonal authorisation), leading into a strong agenda of specialist topics. A topical, human health-related session included endocrine disruption, dermal absorption and the concept of a threshold of toxicological concern. The corresponding environmental session provided an update on the status of environmental exposure assessment and the controversy surrounding neonicotinoid restrictions. Related topics included descriptions of the UK National Action Plan and industry stewardship schemes. The Congress agenda also covered presentations on the market penetration of biopesticides and EU regulatory issues influencing the growth of this increasingly important sector.
Social science aspects were strongly represented, including a stimulating pre-drinks reception evening lecture by Prof. Joyce Tait of the Innogen Institute. Subsequent presentations and discussion centred on how activist and press activity influences political and regulatory actions, with consequent impact on innovation and how this might be counteracted.
Summing up the event, BCPC Chairman Dr Colin Ruscoe reflected on the very positive reaction of delegates and exhibitors to the return of the Congress to Brighton – both by those who remembered the Congress from previous years, and newcomers. “It is clear that the unique features of the venue and the event were much appreciated by well over 150 industry attendees,” said Dr Ruscoe. “Our partners TSGE FORUM ensured extremely smooth running of the event over the two days. Delegates and exhibitors alike have expressed strong approval of the high quality and relevance of the agenda, the presentations – and the networking opportunities. All these combined to re-create the buzz that characterised the BCPC Brighton Congresses of the past – whilst covering topics of absolute relevance to today”.
As a result of the good attendance positive feedback from participants, a further BCPC Congress will take place next year, on a related theme. This will again be held at the Hilton Metropole, Brighton on 23 - 24 September 2014.