The overall objective of the German National Action Plan is to further reduce the risks that can arise from the use of plant protection products. This objective is in line with the Directive 2009/128/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a framework for Community action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides (Sustainable Use Directive – SUD).
The objectives in the German National Action Plan cover different areas of concern: plant protection in general as well as the protection of professional users, consumers and the environment. As required by the SUD and the German Plant Protection Act (§ 4), the German National Action Plan contains specific targets, measures and timetables to reduce the risks and impacts of the use of plant protection products on human and animal health and on the environment.
Among others, the following objectives are pursued:
- 30 % reduction in the risks that the use of plant protection products entails for the environment by 2023 (based on the average of the years 1996 to 2005).
- A reduction of maximum residue levels (MRLs) in all product groups of domestic and imported food to below 1 percent by 2021 (based on the results of a monitoring programme by the competent authorities).
- Limiting the use of plant protection products to the necessary minimum. The necessary minimum states the number of applications needed to ensure an economic cultivation of crops. It is often well below the maximal number of applications that are permitted for approved plant protection products.
- The introduction, promotion and development of plant protection methods that involve limited use of plant protection products in integrated pest management and organic farming.
- Further improvement to safety in the handling of plant protection products.
- Improved availability of public information on the benefits and risks of plant protection, including the use of chemical plant protection products.
To achieve these objectives, the German National Action Plan sets specific targets, target quotas and timetables for the following sectors:
- agriculture, forestry and horticulture,
- non-agricultural land,
- home gardens and allotments,
- avoiding the introduction and spread of harmful organisms,
- protection of professional users and bystanders,
- consumer protection (food safety),
- protection of water bodies and