Over 100 delegates from 14 European countries attended the inaugural European Pest Management Day organised by CEPA (The Confederation of European Pest Control Associations). Held in Brussels, Belgium on 28-29 November 2007, the two days proved an unrivalled success.
The event, inspired by Legislative Day organised by NPMA in the US, was deliberately held in Brussels the legislative heart of the European Union. The programme was designed to highlight a number of key issues emerging from the EU which will impact on the European pest management business.
In addition to the conference, the group had the privilege of visiting the European Parliament including access to the debating chamber itself an experience new to most of those present.
Opening the event, Conference chairman, Ted Brown of Cophall Associates, announced: The world has changed. The industry needs to organise itself to be proactive, as is indicative of the new CEPA approach. Although at the start of proceedings, this statement proved to be the take-home message from the day.
Two EU Directives which will considerably impact upon the pest management industry were discussed. The first was an update on the Biocidal Products Directive. Dr Alan Buckle, Chairman of the CEFIC European Biocidal Product Forum (EBPF) Rodenticide Working Group could not have more neatly summed-up the impact of this Directive when he stated that in 1998 before work commenced on the requirements of the Directive there were 30 rodenticide active ingredients on the market at the end of the Review process there are likely to be no more than 14, and these will mainly be anticoagulants. What implications here for resistance problems? Likewise, Andy Adams who chairs the equivalent forum for insecticides showed that the problem was even greater with this sector from an initial 200 a.i.s there are likely to be no more than around half remaining.
To add to this, is the fact that the research and development budgets of manufacturers of such active ingredients are geared to around 10% of sales. Product innovation is being starved if a large proportion of their data support finances are now committed to resolving the status of existing actives, rather than on the development of more modern novel ingredients. Only five new active ingredients have appeared for the pest market since the inception of the Biocidal Products Directive.
Ease of cross-border trading
Next to affect the industry is the Services Directive. Yet to be adopted, in EU terms this Directive has passed from inception (January 2004) to adoption (January 2009) in record time. Norman Rose, Chairman of the European Business Services Round Table, explained: The Directive aims to open-up cross-border trading for service industries. Service industries currently account for approximately 70% of economic activity within the 27 EU countries yet only 20% of trade between member states. Whilst the trade in goods within the EU has grown, services have not. The Directive will remove the barriers to trade it will, in effect, enable a small single country-based pest control operation to develop into a multi-national operation. Much more will be heard of this Directive in the future. Other speakers covering the Service Directive included international legal company Clifford Chance, European Government representatives and the European Trade union organisation.
Summing-up the future for the industry, Jonathan Peck, speaking on behalf of the UK Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, made the point that the industry must be proud of its achievements achievements which need to be broadcast to the world at large. Rob Fryatt, CEPA Director General, concluded by re-emphasising the key objectives for CEPA. CEPA must represent the industry with a single voice; it needs to strengthen its base within the Brussels community and so to earn the right to lead the industry into the future.