The Ctgb makes comparative assessment more effective and efficient

During its November meeting, the Board for the Authorisation of Plant Protection Products and Biocides (Ctgb) decided to modify the methodology for the comparative assessment. The comparative assessment focuses on approved active substances in plant protection products that must be replaced – where possible – with safer alternatives, as required by EU legislation. These are substances on the list of "candidates for substitution".

However, the current process has not achieved the desired goal: since 2016, no substances in such products have actually been replaced. The new methodology is making the process more effective and efficient. As a result, if a safer alternative can also be used, products containing these candidates for substitution are not placed on the market or are removed from the market.

Replacing products

During the assessment, the Ctgb looks at whether a product containing an alternative active substance is safer than the product with the candidate for substitution. All non-chemical measures and low-risk products are considered safer by definition. Other products are considered safer if less stringent safety procedures are required than for the product containing the candidate for substitution. This policy change makes the procedure simpler and clearer. As a result, the comparative assessment can be completed more quickly, and products can be replaced – where possible – with alternatives that are safer for humans, animals and the environment.

Public consultation

Prior to the Board decision, this proposal was made available for public review for five weeks. Responses were received from environmental organisations, representatives of growers and manufacturers of plant protection products. One of the suggestions was that systems such as integrated pest management (IPM) could be considered as alternatives. Some respondents also indicated that the possible reduction in the number of available products could increase the risk of resistance. The comments did not result in major substantive changes to the proposal, but they did lead to changes and clarifications to the text.

The new policy will take effect on 1 January 2024. The amended policy with the responses from the public consultation and the Board's answers will be published in the Government Gazette.