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Pesticides (HSE guidance)

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Products used by amateur home gardeners or professional users, such as farmers, to protect plants from pests and diseases or to control unwanted weeds must be authorised or permitted before they can be marketed or used in the UK. This is because these products contain hazardous substances whose risk to human or animal health or to the environment must be assessed and found to be acceptable before they can be marketed or used.

  • Pesticides or plant protection products(PPP)

    • 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.
    • Whether you are trying to control the weeds growing on your garden path, the slugs eating the lettuces on your allotment or the black spot on your roses, you may consider using a chemical or spray that is classed as a plant protection product. The term 'plant protection product' (or 'PPP') covers a wide range of products, all of which are used to control plant 'pests'.
    • PPPs include:
      • weed killers (herbicides)
      • slug pellets (molluscicides)
      • fungicide sprays
      • animal repellents
      • hormone rooting powders
      • insecticides
      • plant growth regulators
      • lawn sand treatments.
    • Products used by amateur home gardeners or professional users, such as farmers, to protect plants from pests and diseases or to control unwanted weeds must be authorised or permitted before they can be marketed or used in the UK.
    • This is because these products contain hazardous substances whose risk to human or animal health or to the environment must be assessed and found to be acceptable before they can be marketed or used.
    • In addition to PPPs, HSE is also responsible for biocides. These include:
      • products for algae and snail control in ponds (aquatic algaecides and molluscicides)
      • fly sprays and ant powder (insect killers and repellents)
      • fungicidal washes and patio cleaners (surface biocides)
      • rat and mouse killers (rodenticides)
      • cat repellents (vertebrate repellents).
    • You will find details of these products on the biocide pages of the HSE website.
  • Regulating pesticides in the UK after Brexit

    • From 1 January 2021, an independent pesticides regulatory regime is in operation in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales).
    • New decisions taken under the EU regime will not apply in Great Britain. This includes active substance and maximum residue level (MRL) decisions and any new EU plant protection product (PPP) legislation.
    • The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will remain the national regulator for the whole of the UK, on behalf of the UK government and the devolved administrations.
    • Subscribe for free email updates and receive the latest news and guidance on pesticides.
    • This guidance is for anyone working with PPPs. It is designed to help you understand how Brexit may affect PPP regulation.
  • What are "poisonous substances" in Guernsey 

    • Unlike the UK, there is a single framework for the control of pesticides including plant protection products and biocides in Guernsey. This includes herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, algaecides, rodenticides etc, irrespective of their use (plant protection, or human / animal  / material protection).
    • Although the term pesticide is often used for plant protection products, it can also include biocides. For this reason, Guernsey legislation refers to Poisonous Substances.
    • The purpose of the Control of Poisonous Substances (Guernsey) Regulations, 2014 , is -
      • to protect the health and safety of human beings, animals and plants, and
      • to safeguard the environment, and in particular, to avoid pollution of water.
    • Pesticides in general, including plant protection products and biocides, are prescribed in the Control of Poisonous Substances (Guernsey) Regulations 2014 as any substance, preparation or organism prepared or used for any of the following purposes:
      • protecting plants or wood or other plant products from harmful organisms;
      • regulating the growth of plants;
      • giving protection against harmful creatures;
      • rendering such creatures harmless;
      • controlling organisms with harmful or unwanted effects on water systems, buildings or other structures, or on manufactured products; and
      • protecting animals against ectoparasites
  • Using pesticides in Guernsey 

  • Consider alternatives to plant protection products

    • Before you buy or use any PPP, ask yourself whether it is really necessary to control the pest, disease or weed and whether there is an alternative to traditional chemical use.
    • Organic gardening methods are one way that you can reduce PPP use and get nature to help control any pests or diseases. For example, do one or two dandelions or daisies in the lawn mean that the whole lawn needs treatment? Could you remove problem weeds manually by using garden fork instead? Why not remove slugs or snails by hand when they come out at night, or use a physical barrier to discourage them?
    • The following websites may be helpful in providing information on alternative methods of control to PPPs and encouraging nature to help control the problem:
  • What can I use in my garden? Amateur and professional use

    • Before you buy a PPP, you should check whether you already have some that you can use up.
      • if yes, read the label and check if the product will control the problem you have.
      • then use our garden database to check whether your stored PPP can still be legally used.
      • if the product is not listed on the database it is probably no longer authorised and so will be illegal to use. In this case you will need to dispose of the pesticide safely.
    • Most of the PPPs that you can use in the home, garden or allotment are approved for amateur use. This means that you do not need specific training to use these products. The label will be worded so that the instructions are easy to follow, to ensure that the product is used safely. These products are most likely to be found in your local garden centre, DIY store or supermarket.
    • Many other PPPs, such as those used on farms, or in public areas are approved for use in much larger commercial situations. The labels of these 'professional' products can be more complicated, and by law they must be used only by those who have had the appropriate training. Professional products should never be used by the untrained amateur gardener. Someone with the right training can use a professional product in the home, garden or allotment so long as the intended use appears on the label.
  • Choosing and buying a plant protection product

    • If you need to buy a PPP you can check the garden database for a list of products that are authorised for use on particular plants or areas in the garden. Please note that the database does not give details of the pest, weed or disease that each PPP controls.
    • However, this detail can be found on the product label, or you can usually get advice from garden centres, DIY shops, PPP companies (a list of marketing companies is available on the database), gardening organisations, or you can try, or the Royal Horticultural Society.
    • Never buy more than you will need for one year.
    • This is because you may end up with PPP that you will have to dispose of if the product is withdrawn and becomes illegal to use. Also, product labels may deteriorate and become difficult to read if containers are kept for many years.
    • Do not buy PPP from the internet or when abroad until you have checked the garden database to confirm that they are legal to use in the UK.
    • If they are not authorised in the UK they may not have been assessed for safety to people or the environment. You could face prosecution for illegal use and storage of such PPPs.
  • Storage of plant protection products

    • Always store PPPs in their original containers. This is for safety reasons and is a legal requirement.
      • After you have used a PPP, make sure that the packaging is tightly closed or sealed to avoid spillage
      • Store PPPs in a safe place, out of reach of children and pets
      • Take particular care to store slug pellets safely to avoid accidental poisoning of children and pets - particularly dogs , as some pellets may be toxic in larger quantities
      • Garden sheds and greenhouses are not ideal for storing PPPs as they can get very hot in summer or cold in winter. Products are best stored at an even temperature
      • If you have surplus product left at the end of the year, it should be effective for use the following year if you store it carefully. You can check whether it is still legal to use by visiting our garden database
      • Never store left-over solution from diluted concentrate PPPs
    • Concentrate PPPs that have been diluted and stored may not work as well when you next use them. It is also illegal to store PPPs that are unlabelled and not in their original container for safety reasons. Remember to only dilute enough for that day's use.
  • Disposing of plant protective products

    • Never pour PPPs down the drain, toilet or sink.
    • Whether you've diluted it or not, never pour PPPs down a drain or any other water drainage system (for example sink or toilet) because of the risk of contaminating water and harming wildlife. You could face prosecution
    • Empty concentrate containers (PPPs requiring dilution before use) should be rinsed three times, adding the washings to the final spray solution. The empty container must then be placed in the normal household waste
    • Empty ready-to-use containers - Recycling of home garden pesticide containers - PS2808research recommended that empty plastic PPP containers of 'ready-to-use' products (for example trigger sprays and other products that do not require dilution) can be disposed of directly into your household recycling waste. Some labels may still contain instructions to dispose of it in the normal household waste, but labels of suitable products changed as of 31 December 2015, to instruct disposal of the empty container to recycling
    • Other empty PPP containers, for example bags and cardboard boxes, can also be disposed of in your household waste
    • Always check the label for advice on disposal of the product or empty container
    • Do not burn any PPP packaging.
    • HSE can provide initial advice about the safety of pesticides, chemicals and hazardous waste. You can contact HSE on 01481 220010 or
    • Collection and disposal are carried out by States Works (Guernsey Waste) - 01481 226263 or
    • Domestic users
      • Contact States Works on 226263 for advice on disposal of pesticides and chemicals.  They will arrange a time for the collection of the unwanted items.
      • Do not transport hazardous substances to States Works or the landfill yourself for safety reasons, e.g. spillage en route / fumes from the chemicals.  Please do not dispose of them independently, seek the advice of States Works (Guernsey Waste) first.  Email:
      • This service is normally free to householders.
    • Professional / commercial waste
      • This service is chargeable for commercial waste.
      • For most commercial waste, you are able to choose your own licensed waste provider. Some waste can be disposed of locally, but some particularly hazardous chemicals have to be recycled or incinerated off-island.
      • Contact States Works (Guernsey Waste) on 226263 or Email:
    • Exporting hazardous waste
      • This is the most expensive form of disposal and the States of Guernsey fully recover the costs for this service.
      • The waste cannot be shipped until the Environment Agency in England and the Waste Regulator (Office of Environmental Health and Pollution Regulation) in Guernsey has checked every item for shipment.  A bond has to be taken out to cover the full cost of returning the waste to the consignor if necessary.
      • The waste has to be traceable - this is known as 'Cradle to Grave'.
      • Contact States Works (Guernsey Waste) on 226263 or Email:




Pesticides - Code of practice for using plant protection products PS3 Pesticide Use Register (Guernsey) COSHH Risk Assessment Example Poisonous Substances - Application to Use a Licensed Chemical Poisonous substances import and store - yearly application form List of Licensed and Prohibited Pesticides May 2023

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