The World BioProtection Forum (WBF) launched its much-anticipated white paper this week, providing an authoritative compilation of global expert recommendations on regulatory reform that will provide guidance to the UK’s DEFRA as they revise biopesticide regulations in line with the drive for better regulation, nurturing green technologies and overhauling the UK regulatory environment through the government’s Brexit Freedom Bill.
A significant milestone in the WBF’s regulatory campaign was reached this week when WBF Chairman, Dr Minshad Ansari, met with colleagues and biocontrol end-users to celebrate the launch of the organisation’s new white paper, Creating the World’s Best-in-Class Biopesticide/BioProtectant Regulatory System.
The white paper, which is entirely based on the knowledge, views and opinions of international experts comprising the WBF Biopesticides Reform Working Group, provides a comprehensive compilation of expert advice and recommendations for regulatory reform. The white paper was written for the UK’s Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), which will be considering the content as they pursue the objective of improving biopesticide regulations and the UK government’s Brexit Freedom Bill goal to develop new laws and regulations that best fit the needs of the UK, by the end of 2023.
After 30 years of the biocontrol sector calling for change to regulatory processes for new product registrations, the world is watching the UK as they consider their regulations for new registrations. The importance of this opportunity is difficult to overestimate, as it is widely seen as the last chance for a Competent Authority to make meaningful changes and lead a global transformation in regulations for new bioprotectants.
“Sustainable agriculture is going to have to be a part of solving the climate crisis we are facing,” said Dr Minshad Ansari, Chairman of the WBF. “But lengthy, complicated, and often unsuitable regulatory requirements for new sustainable solutions have created big obstacles – blocking or delaying the availability of new biocontrol products for many years. Our hope is that, by supporting DEFRA, we will finally be able to achieve a sensible risk assessment process that nurtures our sector and allows innovation to flourish. Our greatest hope is that other countries and regions will also consider DEFRA’s great work as a basis for further reforms.”
Dr Sarah Harding, Communications Advisor to the WBF and one of the white paper authors of the white paper, said, “It is absolutely vital that regulators across the world finally accept and reflect the fact that biocontrol solutions are not conventional chemical pesticides, and their evaluation processes need to be adapted to separate biologicals and chemicals. In our discussions with DEFRA to date, they have been extremely positive about the need for change, and open to discussions that we hope will lead to a world-leading biopesticide/bioprotectant regulatory system.”
Tristan Jervis, WBF Advisor, Senior Public Affairs Consultant and co-author of the white paper, added, “The UK government has made it clear that they are keen for the UK to be a global leader in green technologies, and they realise that this must include the creation of a legislative and regulatory environment that enables the green sector to function effectively. The upcoming revisions to UK biopesticide regulations give the UK a chance to display its strength as a leader in green technologies, and to take pole position in a movement that could enable real green solutions to our century’s agricultural challenges.”
This week’s launch meeting took place at The Grove Golf Resort in Hertfordshire, UK. The Grove is the winner of the Golf Environment Awards 2022’s Environmental Golf Course of the Year have been using biocontrol solutions successfully to manage the turf pests since 2017, making this a perfect venue for the White Paper launch.
The WBF’s work on regulatory reform will continue with a focussed lobbying campaign in early 2023 intended to convince UK government ministers and senior civil servants to adopt as many of the recommended changes to biopesticide regulations as possible. This is a chance for the bioprotection industries to come together to back regulatory reforms that embrace innovation for biological crop protection in sustainable agriculture. In order to support the WBF’s efforts in making the greatest impact and building on successes to date, stakeholders are invited to join the WBF; all membership fees support the organisation’s work, including the upcoming lobbying campaign.
For further information about the campaign, or to obtain your own copy of the WBF’s new white paper Creating the World’s Best-in-Class Biopesticide/Bioprotectant Regulatory System, visit www.worldbioprotectionforum.com/regulatory-reform.