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The aim of these requirements is to ensure that plant protection products (PPPs) are used correctly, and to minimise risks from their use to humans, wildlife and the environment. They apply to you if these products are used on your land.


Pesticides, also known as 'plant protection products' (PPP) are used to control pests, weeds and diseases. Examples include insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, molluscicides, and plant growth regulators.

They can exist in many forms, such as solid granules, powders or liquids and consist of one or more active substances co-formulated with other materials.

Main requirements

  • Only use PPPs which have a valid authorisation and where the user has undertaken appropriate training.
  • Meet the conditions and rules on the product label, in the authorisation, permit or in any extension of use.
  • Follow good plant protection practice including the ‘Code of Practice for using Plant Protection Products’ as amended.
  • Keep records of pesticide applications; this is also an SMR4 requirement. These should include details of:
    • when – date and time applied
    • where – location and size of the area treated
    • what crop was being treated
    • why – reason for treatment
    • what product was used – including MAPP or MAFF number 
    • how much – product and total  dressing
    • weather conditions at the time of the treatment
    • any other relevant information.

Field checks

  • Check that all pesticides are being used for their approved purpose, and in accordance with their labels.
  • Examples of what the requirements or conditions relate to are:
    • correct product has been used on the appropriate crops and in the right situations
    • maximum individual dose has not been exceeded
    • maximum number of product applications has not been exceeded
    • product has been applied at the correct time
    • personal protective equipment is available
    • necessary withdrawal periods have been adhered to
    • safe storage (keep out of reach of children, keep in original container, protect from frost, prevent damage to the environment, etc)
    • safe disposal (triple rinse containers, add washings to sprayer at time of filling, etc).

Good practice

In addition to the main requirements that concern Cross Compliance, to comply with the law you must also meet these requirements:

  • If your work involves plant protection products (PPPs), you must comply with the Official Controls (Plant Protection Products) Regulations 2020. This includes registering with the competent authority. Defra will collect this information on behalf of Scottish and Welsh governments. You can register here: Professional plant protection products (PPPs): register as a user - GOV.UK (
  • Anyone who applies a professional pesticide product must hold an officially-designated specified certificate. This includes contractors.
  • Pesticide application equipment, other than knapsacks and hand-helds, must have passed a test conducted by the National Sprayer Testing Scheme. Machinery must be calibrated and re-tested on a regular basis. The frequency of retesting depends on the type of machinery. 
  • Only spray when weather conditions are suitable to minimise the risk of spray drift. The law requires that pesticide applications are confined to the target area. 

Further information