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Pesticides in the EU — ensuring their sustainable use


Directive 2009/128/EC — EU action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides



  • It sets rules for the sustainable use of pesticides by reducing their risks to human health and the environment.
  • It promotes the use of integrated pest management and different techniques such as non-chemical alternatives.


  • EU countries must:
    • adopt national plans setting objectives, targets, measures and timetables to reduce health and environmental risks from pesticide use;
    • ensure all professional users, distributors and advisors receive proper training;
    • inform the general public and promote awareness-raising programmes about the potential risks from pesticides;
    • require pesticide application equipment to undergo regular inspections (at least once by 2016, then every 5 years up to 2020 and every 3 years thereafter);
    • ban aerial spraying;
    • protect water, especially drinking water, from the impact of pesticides;
    • ensure that the use of pesticides is reduced or banned in certain areas such as public parks, playgrounds, sports fields or near healthcare facilities;
    • require professional users to follow safety precautions when handling and storing pesticides and treating their packaging and remnants;
    • take all necessary measures to promote low pesticide pest management.
  • The legislation does not prevent EU countries from restricting or banning the use of pesticides in specific circumstances or areas.
  • By 14 December 2012, EU countries were to communicate their national plans to the European Commission and to other EU countries.
  • By 14 December 2014, the Commission was to submit a report on the national plans to the European Parliament and the Council.
  • By 14 December 2018, the Commission must submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the progress EU countries have made in implementing their national targets.


It entered into force on 25 November 2009. EU countries had to incorporate it in national law by 14 December 2011.


Sustainable use of pesticides


Directive 2009/128/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing a framework for Community action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides (OJ L 309, 24.11.2009, pp. 71-86)

Successive amendments to Directive 2009/128/EC have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated version is for reference only.

last update 11.04.2016