The Official Controls (Plant Protection Products) Regulations 2020

Jurisdiction: England, Scotland, Wales

Commencement: 22 June 2020

Mini Summary

The Official Controls (Plant Protection Products) Regulations 2020 require those that make, supply, distribute, place on the market or use plant protection products, to notify the competent authority.  



These Regulations implement some requirements of Regulation (EU) 2017/625 on official controls and other official activities performed to ensure the application of food and feed law, rules on animal health and welfare, plant health and plant protection products (“Official Controls Regulation”) in the UK regarding plant protection products. They establish and put duties on the competent authorities and organisations that place on the market or use plant protection products (PPPs).


Definition of plant protection products 

PPPs are ‘pesticides’ that control pests, weeds and diseases. There are many different types of PPPs and common examples include insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and plant growth regulators.

They are primarily used in the agricultural sector but also in forestry, horticulture, amenity areas, and in home gardens. They contain at least one active substance and have one of the following functions:

  • Protect plants or plant products against pests/diseases, before or after harvest (unless the main purpose is considered to be for hygiene rather than the protection of plants or plant products).
  • Influence the life processes of plants (such as substances influencing their growth, excluding nutrients).
  • Preserve plant products (unless the product is already subject to separate rules on preservatives).
  • Destroy or prevent growth of undesired plants or parts of plants.


The requirements of these Regulations apply to those who manufacture, distribute or place PPPs on the market, as well an those who use PPPs in the course of their work activity. This can include gardeners, farmers, or anyone who spray pesticides at their own workplace, such as on paved areas to control weeds.


Competent authorities 

The competent authorities for the requirements in the Official Controls Regulation regarding plant protection products and components and the sustainable use of pesticides (with the exception of pesticides application equipment) is:

  • for England, the Secretary of State;
  • for Scotland, the Scottish Ministers; and
  • for Wales, the Welsh Ministers.


These Regulations also allow for the enforcement of the Official Controls Regulation and accordingly allows any authorised officer to enter a premises and inspect and make copies of records. The competent authority is responsible for enforcing the Official Controls Regulation and these Regulations, although they may transfer responsibilities to other public authorities.


Duties of operators 

Operators include those who are involved in the manufacture or supply chain of PPPs, or that use PPPs in their work activity.

Operators must notify the competent authority of the following:

  • the operator’s name;
  • the operator’s activities in relation to placing on the market or use of plant protection products and components and the sustainable use of pesticides; and
  • the premises such activities are carried out.


For operators that produce, manufacture, process, import, distribute, sell or otherwise place plant protection products or components on the market that are authorised for professional use, this information must first be sent to the competent authority by 22nd September 2021 (15 months following these Regulations coming into force). For all other operators, this must be completed by 22nd June 2022 (24 months after these Regulations come into force).

New operations after these dates will need to submit the required information within 3 months of commencing business. 


Link to full government text


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