Your questions answered

What type of equipment needs testing? – All vehicle mounted pesticide application equipment needs to be tested by 26th November 2016 

Does the test requirement apply to all PAE? – Yes, the requirement applies to all PAE working in all sectors, agriculture, amenity and horticulture, in fact any machine that is applying pesticides commercially. The requirement additionally applies to aerial applications and specialist equipment, including all types of fixed equipment.

Who will test my equipment? – NSTS is delegated as the body to test application equipment in the UK, simply visit the NSTS website and choose your nearest or preferred test centre to carry out the test.

What does the test cost? – The NSTS test is commercial at the point of use, you can choose who tests your equipment and NSTS does not restrict a test centre to a specific area, most test centres are happy to travel. The cost is dependent on machine size and complexity and each test centre will be able to advise of their own particular costs. The cost of the test can be reduced if a number of machines are tested in one location.

Where is the test carried out? – In most cases the test centre will send a qualified examiner to you and test your equipment on your premises. The test is carried out at a mutually agreed time and place.

When will the equipment need retesting? – To satisfy the SUD, machines need to be tested by 26th November 2016 and again by 26th November 2020 and thereafter every three years. Some specialist equipment, those listed in Annex 4 of the National Action Plan, require re-testing every six years. 

Is this different for smaller boom sprayers? – Yes booms of three metres or less still need to be tested by 26th November 2016 but then only every six years, to satisfy the SUD. Unless a more regular test is required by crop assurance or other protocols.

Will my knapsack sprayer need testing? – No, the UK has applied a derogation which means that certain equipment does not require to be tested. These include knapsack, hand-held and pedestrian controlled machines. However they require to be inspected on a regular basis, by a competent person and any defects and repairs be recorded.

Are there other reasons why machines should be tested? – Yes, besides being good practice, it helps ensure that machines are capable of applying pesticides accurately and on-target. From an agricultural point of view annual sprayer testing is a requirement of the major crop assurance and supermarket protocols. Having your machines tested helps satisfy the requirements of PUWER and means the machine is safe for the operator and the environment.

Full details can be found here