Ramping up RAMPS

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The Register of Accredited Metallic Phosphide Schemes UK (RAMPS UK) was introduced at the Pest Control News Workshop held during PestTech on 3 November. RAMPS UK aims to ensure a future for the metallic phosphides by keeping a register of accredited stockists and users of these useful, but potentially very dangerous, products.

David Cross of Connaught is the chairman of the new RAMPS UK and spoke at the meeting. He explained: “We want to keep these products which in many circumstances are the only fumigants we’ve got left in the UK. But if we want to keep them Government has made it pretty plain that we have to show that our industry can use them safely and responsibly.”

The new body was in fact officially formed on 21 July and is by all accounts yet another industry trade association. Currently the executive committee which runs the new body consists of representatives from Connaught, Rentokil Initial and Certis Europe. BPCA, BASIS, Natural England, HSE and the Home Office have also been involved in its formation. The new body is an extension of the unofficial organisation, confusingly also called RAMPS but without the UK. This stood for the Register of Authorised Metallic Phosphide Stockists and has been overseeing how these products, and particularly aluminium phosphide, were distributed for the past four years.

What will be the key activities of RAMPS UK?

  • To hold a register of stockists who must be members of BASIS (Registration) Ltd or of the BASIS Small Stores Scheme and therefore audited by BASIS;
  • To ensure the competence of end-users by providing a means of training and certification. This will be through City & Guilds and will be a huge undertaking to include pest controllers, farmers, gamekeepers and so on;
  • To ensure there is a network of accredited trainers;
  • To hold a register of accredited users. By 2015 users wishing to purchase product will have produce photo ID and evidence of training/competence. In the interim they must ‘be known to the supplier’;
  • To provide information for the emergency services in cases of accidental release or misuse as well as for distributors and users on things like transport, PPE/RPE, waste disposal conditions of use etc;
  • To challenge changes in use and legislation on behalf of the industry.

PestTech 10 RAMPS
Speakers at the PCN workshop which introduced RAMPS UK. Left to right: Rob Simpson of BASIS, David Cross from Connaught and Paul Butt of Natural England 

Jonathan Peck
Killgerm”s Jonathan Peck introduced
the speakers


PCN logo 

But why does the industry need another association?
According to David Cross it’s all down to the Sustainable Use Directive (SUD) and that’s the SUD associated with the Plant Protection Directive, which comes into force next year and not the one which will emerge in due course for the Biocides Directive. This is because one of the biggest uses for these products is in fumigating grain and grain stores. The main uses in the pest control sector are, of course, for rabbit and mole control. But SUD is not the only legal pressure. Because of their toxic nature these products have always been governed by the Poisons Act 1972.

However, neither of these legally specify a trade association format so quite why the existing looser arrangement couldn’t simply have been extended to users remains unclear. Other questions have also yet to be resolved. In particular how will the association be funded? Whilst there was a show of hands in the meeting which indicated many people were interested in joining the register no indication was given as to how much this might cost and with all users having to prove competence and register and, presumably, (although nothing was said at the meeting) provide evidence of continued competence to stay on the register, the necessary administration and compliance checks will not come cheap.

So what happens next?
The association is inviting all interested parties to become members of RAMPS UK and says that further information will be distributed in the next two months. There is to be a General Assembly meeting open to all interested parties in the first quarter of 2011. In the meantime further information is available from the secretary of RAMPS UK that’s Ian Pepper of Biotactix Consulting. Click here to email him.

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