The 17th Informa Conference on Biocidal products was one of the best conferences on the Biocidal Products Directive to date. But it did raise some significant concerns about the process that has been going on since the Directive was adopted in 1998.
Dr Andy Adams, the Head of Regulatory Affairs at Bayer Environmental Science explained that although the industry met the timescales laid down by the European Commission and invested the millions of pounds required to obtain listings for their active ingredients on Annex 1 of the Directive, the Competent Authorities and the Commission are likely to miss their deadlines for assessing the data not by months or years but by a decade.
In fact, the way that the process is working means that companies that have not put their active ingredients or products through the BPD may even have advantages over those that have invested the time and cost in following the rules.
It was also clear that not all national competent authorities were able to play their part effectively. The UK’s HSE was clearly the authority of choice for many product authorisations. They were likely to have more applications for first approval of products than the rest of the 27 member states put together.
This was because their approach was more pragmatic; their website is the clearest in giving instructions; and in any event, the European biocides industry works primarily in the English language. As Andy pointed out, although the competent authorities are obliged under the Directive to grant mutual recognition of approvals within 120 days, none had yet done so. In fact, existing applications have not yet been approved even after 215 days.
A full report of the conference will appear in the next issue of Pest Control News.