The following main policy options were assessed against a likely baseline scenario where the SUD remains unchanged.
Option 1: The EU targets to reduce pesticide use by 50% and reduce pesticide risks by 50% to be achieved by 2030 remain non-legally binding. Advisory systems and guidance for pesticide users would be improved. Precision-farming techniques would be promoted to cut the use of – and risk from – chemical pesticides.
Option 2: The 50% reduction targets would become legally binding at EU level. Member States would set their own national reduction targets using established criteria. These national targets would then be legally binding (under national law) and subject to governance mechanisms linked to regular annual reporting by Member States. The use of more hazardous pesticides would be prohibited in sensitive areas such as urban green areas. Professional pesticide users would need to keep electronic records on pesticide use and on IPM to help reduce pesticide use. National authorities would collect and analyse those records to monitor progress and devise corrective measures at national level if necessary. Independent advisory services would advise pesticide users on alternative techniques and IPM.
Option 3 would be similar to option 2. However, under option 3, the 50% reduction targets would become legally binding at both EU and national level. The use of all chemical pesticides would be prohibited in sensitive areas such as urban areas and protected areas in accordance with Directive 2000/60/EC, Natura 2000 areas etc.
The preferred option is option 3, except for the targets, where option 2 is preferred. In this case, the targets to reduce both pesticide use and pesticide risk by 50% would become legally binding at EU level, with Member States setting their own national reduction targets under national law. The options have been assessed against a likely baseline scenario where the SUD remains unchanged. Prohibiting the use of all plant protection products in sensitive areas will maximise associated health and environmental benefits.
Regulatory fitness and simplification
In line with the Commission commitment to better regulation, the proposal has been prepared inclusively, based on transparency and continuous engagement with stakeholders. The evaluation did not identify possible legislative simplifications or reductions of regulatory burden that would make it easier to achieve the objectives of sustainable pesticide use. Micro-enterprises are not exempted from this proposal given the importance of uniform implementation of measures to reduce both the use of pesticides and the risk they pose to human health and the environment.
This proposal is in line with a digital-ready policy by promoting electronic record-keeping and online publication of trends in progress towards meeting:
(i) pesticide-reduction targets;
(ii) implementation of NAPs;
(iii) annual progress and implementation reports;
(iv) Commission recommendations; and
(v) Member State responses.
Relevant provisions for cost-efficient, user-centric and interoperable digital services will be considered in implementing rules for the electronic registers that will be created as a result of the proposal.