Pesticide users reminded of the requirement to register

As the 22 June deadline for pesticide users to register their details with Defra approaches, NFU Scotland’s Environmental Resources Policy Manager Sarah Cowie considers what this means for NFU Scotland members. 

She writes: The Official Controls (Plant Protection Products) Regulations 2020 have now come into force, requiring all farm businesses using pesticides to register their details. The regulations cover Plant Protection Product (PPP, more commonly known as pesticide) use in Great Britain.

But what does this mean for NFU Scotland members? If you use pesticides and adjuvants on your farm, you are legally obliged to register your business name, all addresses where pesticides are stored, and an estimated volume of the pesticides you use. The registration form is now open, and can be completed at the following link: The deadline for registration is the 22 June 2022. 

How can you comply with the regulations? Firstly, farm businesses, and others subject to the regulations, must register to notify Defra of their: business name; activities; and location(s) of premises where pesticides are stored. If you begin using pesticides and adjuvants for the first time after 22nd June 2022, or begin selling pesticides, you must register within 3 months of starting. You are only required to register once. If there is significant change in your businesses’ use of pesticides, such as a change of business address or closure of the business, you must inform Defra. 

This is a statutory deadline. Failure to comply without a reasonable excuse is an offence. If you miss the deadline, you must submit your form as soon as possible. NFU Scotland will update members on any registration requirement changes.  

What is covered by the regulations and who needs to comply? The 2020 Regulations apply to pesticides, their components, and adjuvants. Any ‘professional users’ of pesticides in Great Britain are legally obliged to register. Businesses that produce, manufacture, process, import, store, distribute and sell PPPs are also subject to the regulations. 

A ‘professional user’ is any person or business who uses pesticides in the course of their work activities. You are considered a professional user if you work in agriculture, amenity, or forestry in Great Britain and:
• use professional pesticides and any adjuvants as part of your work, including if you are hired to spray pesticides on someone else’s land
• have professional pesticides and any adjuvants applied by a third party as part of your work in agriculture or horticulture, amenity, or forestry
• use pesticides when working in agriculture or horticulture when farming or maintaining arable crops, forage crops, livestock, or when treating seeds

Where businesses sell professional pesticides separate to their use, they should register as both a business that uses pesticides, and as a business that sells pesticides. The forms are different.

What are some of the frequently asked questions about the regulations? 

We have fed back comments that this process may be seen as a duplication of information that is already supplied through other quality assurance schemes, but due to data protection requirements associated with these, and to ensure as many registrations as possible, it was felt best for everyone to register, with the hope that the burden on farmers is minimal. 

There is the hope that in future, membership of good stewardship schemes could be added to the registration process. 

For those with digital accessibility issues, please email to request a hard copy of the form to be sent to you. 

If there are any other questions, please get in touch with

Author: Sarah Cowie

Date Published:

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Walter H Douglas

11 days ago

Why has DEFRA not contacted all farmers with this info? Is it just pesticide usage or are herbicides included as well?
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About The Author

Sarah Cowie

Sarah Cowie graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2012 and started her career at Scottish Enterprise, where she held roles in renewable energy and IP development. Following this she joined political monitoring company Newsdirect, where she was responsible for a wide range of clients in the environmental and agricultural sector. She joined NFU Scotland in 2021 as environmental resources policy manager and is responsible for the implementation and content of environmental regulation and legislation including Nitrate Vulnerable Zones, pollution prevention and control, waste, flooding, air quality and biodiversity.

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