29 March 2021

BPCA's call for urgent rethink of post-Brexit biocide regulation sees fumigants registration extended

BPCA has written to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to ask for them to reconsider their approach to biocidal product reviews after the Association’s Fumigations and Controlled Environments (FaCE) group raised concerns for the future of some key fumigants.

UPDATE: HSE has now replied, telling us they have extended the registration of one product and indicated they may be extended others closer to their products reviews.  


The four-page letter detailed BPCA’s concerns that if the plans HSE published had come to fruition, the UK would likely lose access to economically viable biocidal fumigants.

This in turn could significantly affect the UK’s ability to export goods and protect human health.

The problem we had

Ian Andrew, BPCA Chief Exec, explains:

“In the UK, following Brexit, plant protection products (PPP) have been granted a three-year carry-over period to allow for a structured authorisation process implemented by HSE.

“However, biocidal products have been scheduled to proceed according to pre-Brexit regulatory timescales and the associated processes and procedures have been “lifted and shifted” from the previous ECHA solution, along with the huge price tags for authorisations and renewals”.

Approval holders for biocidal products and active ingredients now have to pay their existing ECHA fee to gain access to the EU-27, and a further £200,000 for the renewal of active substances under the UK framework for access to the GB market.

For some fumigation active ingredients, this lapse is due within the next few months; specifically, the biocidal uses for magnesium & aluminium phosphide (31/01/2022) and sulfuryl fluoride (30/06/2021).

Approval holders for biocidal products and active ingredients now have to pay their existing ECHA fee to gain access to the EU-27, and a further £200,000 for the renewal of active substances under the UK framework for access to the GB market.

Ian continues:

“For some product groups (such as fumigants), approval holders have indicated that they are unwilling to continue to support the biocidal use of these products in the UK market because of the significant regulatory fees.

“As a consequence, their UK biocidal active substance and product authorisations are likely to be allowed to lapse at the point of renewal.

“The UK market is, after all, much smaller than the EU market”.

These biocidal products support crucial fumigation activities including meeting international pre-shipment quarantine schedules, with very limited alternative solutions should they exit the market.

BPCA has asked that HSE take a similar approach in the UK to biocides as with plant protection products.

Ian explains:

“We’ve asked that HSE implement a three-year carry-over period to ensure these products remain available in the short-term.

“Then, when these products come up for re-authorisation, HSE will have had the time to develop and implement a system that doesn’t jeopardise UK trade or risk human health”.
BPCA and it’s contributing committees and special interest groups work hard behind the scenes to help keep products on shelves so our members can continue to protect public health.

UPDATE: HSE replies

Sarah Albon, Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Executive has written back to BPCA confirming that in the short term, pest professionals will not lose access to these fumigants. 

She wrote:

"I recognise and fully agree the vital importance of GB based exporters being able to ensure that the goods they export can be done in a way that protects human health. You specifically refer to magnesium and aluminium phosphide and sulfuryl fluoride as being crucial for pre-shipment quarantine processes and the lack of alternative active substances for this type of fumigation.

"I am pleased to confirm that sulfuryl fluoride for use in pest control (product-type 18) has had its expiry date postponed until 24 July 2023 using powers under article 14(5) of the Biocidal Products Regulation as amended for Great Britain (GB BPR). This should provide time for a renewal application to be processed.

"The GB list of approved active substances will be updated accordingly. The entries for magnesium and aluminium phosphide are not due to expire until 31 January 2022; if postponements of these expiry dates are required, they will be considered under the same provision. I hope, therefore, that going forwards there will not be a loss of fumigants in the way your members feared".

Still work to do

While HSE's decision does ensure continued access to these products, BPCA still has concerns about the long term impacts of UK biocide regulation post-Brexit.

We'll be keeping a close eye on how things develop and doing our best to protect pest professional's toolkits. 

Concerned about the future of fumigants?

If you work for a member company and you have an interest in fumigants, why not consider joining our Fumigation and Controlled Environments special interest Group? Request to join a meeting today. 

Source: Online

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