Pesticide Usage

The regulation of pesticides and biocides in the UK is undertaken by the Chemicals Regulation Division (CRD) in York and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in Bootle respectively. Pesticides and biocides are carefully assessed prior to approval under the EU Thematic Strategy for Pesticides and the Biocidal Products Directive respectively. These have been transposed into UK law by the Plant Protection Products regulations and the Biocidal Products regulations.

SASA is a division of the Scottish Government which provides expert advice and services regarding the implementation of these regulations both within Scotland, and in the wider UK context to CRD and HSE. A number of SASA staff participate as Scottish representatives in the various interdepartmental committees that coordinate the regulation of pesticides and biocides throughout the UK.


Information on the use of pesticides is collected and published annually by the Pesticide Survey Unit at SASA.  Surveyors from SASA interview a representative sample of Scottish farmers and horticulturists about their use of agrochemicals and from this sample an overall estimate of use in Scotland is obtained.  The Scottish survey data are also incorporated with England, Wales and Northern Ireland data to provide estimates of annual UK-wide pesticide use.  Information on all aspects of pesticide usage in the United Kingdom as a whole may be obtained from the Pesticide Usage Survey Team at FERA Science Ltd, Sand Hutton, York.

A 4-year cycle of surveys ensures that the main crops grown in Scotland are covered at least once.  Arable, soft fruit, vegetable, orchard and protected edible crops are surveyed biennially with grass and fodder crops surveyed every four years.  The reports detail pesticide usage on each crop in terms of weight, area and percentage treated with specific active substances.  In Scotland, rodenticide use surveys are also conducted alongside the arable and fodder surveys.  This is not part of the UK Survey cycle and rodenticide reports are only produced in Scotland.

The latest survey reports, covering each survey type in Scotland, are downloadable from this site or from the Scottish Government website.

Pesticide usage data is also available from an interactive database of Scottish Pesticide Use (SCOPES), which displays estimated active ingredient use on Scottish arable crops.