Time for reforming the regulatory process for new bioprotection products

Streamlining the regulatory process for these products in the UK and the EU would enable the authorities’ own deadlines of 12–22 months to be met and would allow the green biopesticide industry to fill the growing gaps in the pest control market.  

source-public domain(amazon.com)

source-public domain(amazon.com)

In order to obtain approval of an active substance at the EU level, an applicant must follow procedures that are not dissimilar to those for chemical pesticides (albeit slightly adapted for biological products rather than chemicals). This includes the preparation of a detailed dossier, based on extensive tests and stringent data requirements, and its subsequent review and evaluation by the relevant member state and the EFSA (now by the HSE in the UK). The evaluation of a new product should take about 12–22 months but, in reality, it typically takes up to 5 years. At least one new biopesticide product is known to have taken 15 years to gain approval. Streamlining the regulatory process for these products in the UK and the EU would enable the authorities’ own deadlines of 12–22 months to be met and would allow the green biopesticide industry to fill the growing gaps in the pest control market.

Of course, we are not the first to highlight these issues. Anyone working in the biopesticide space will almost certainly have heard this all before. However, the UK Government has just announced that a new unit is being set-up to shed EU regulations. In this political climate, post-Brexit and post-COVID, the case for regulatory reform is likely to receive a highly sympathetic and fair hearing – particularly ones governing a sector that makes for a greener environment, given the importance of the green agenda as a pillar in the Government’s industrial strategy.

“We must capitalize on recent changes in global power to push for change. We will all benefit if we manage to create a regulatory environment that nurtures and supports the bioprotection industry,” declares Dr Ansari.

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