Policy & Strategies

European Directive:

In 2009 the European Union Member States approved the Directive 2009/128/EC of the 21 October 2009 on Sustainable Use of Pesticides (SUDP), and the movement of towns going pesticides-free is growing. However, a number of towns, regions and countries had already decided a long time ago to become pesticide free. We can learn from their examples.

Member States banning pesticide use in public areas are:


In Italy the ban of glyphosate in public areas has been regulated by the D.M. 9 August 2016 "revocation of marketing authorizations and amendments to the conditions of use of plant protection products containing the active substance glyphosate in implementation of the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/1313 of 1 August 2016".

At a local level are applied guidelines for reducing the use of plant protection products and for their sustainable use, which were adopted by the Interministerial Decree of 28 January 2014 establishing the National Action Plan for the sustainable use of plant protection products.

See the Decree


In Belgium, permits for and conditions linked to the sale of phyto-pharmaceutical products are the jurisdiction of the federal authorities. In addition, each region has its own legislation governing product usage:

See the Map of Pesticidee Free Towns in Belgium

  • Flanders

In Flanders, public services have been banned from using pesticides since 1st January 2015 after a 10 years transition period where pesticides were reduced. Exemptions to this ban are permitted in specific circumstances. To obtain an exemption, applicants need to complete a very precise procedure. For certain problematic species a general exemption can be applied. See the official campaign.

  • Wallonia

In Wallonia, the use of phyto-pharmaceutical products in public spaces is banned as of 1st June 2019. An initial ban on the use of all phyto-pharmaceutical products (herbicides, fungicides, insecticides etc.) was introduced on 1st June 2014, but these products may still be used for a period of 5 years (i.e. from 1st June 2014 to 31st May 2019) as an exception in specific circumstances. See the official campaign.

  • Brussels Capital 

In the Brussels Capital region, the use of pesticides by the public services in public spaces has been radically restricted since the 20th of June, 2013, except in certain circumstances where a reduction plan has been drawn up. The ban has become fully effective as of 1st January 2019. Since 1st March 2014, pesticide use on the grounds of organisations or institutions that host vulnerable groups (i.e. schools, elderly homes, hospitals etc.) has also been banned. Special exemptions are nonetheless available for reasons of public health and safety.


In Germany, as a matter of principle, the use of plant protection products on non-agricultural land is prohibited; it is permissible solely if an exception is granted. In practice, railways companies normally receive exceptions from the Federal Railway Agency, for safety reasons.


In 1998, Denmark decided to introduce a progressive ban on pesticides in public spaces, leading up to a blanket ban in 2006. However, in that same year an exemption was brought in for glyphosate, and a new regulation was introduced regarding the elimination of pesticide use in public spaces but without a legally binding deadline. Now, only herbicides in cemeteries are officially banned. Danish cities need to report their pesticide use to the Ministry for the Environment every three years, starting from 2010. In total, 25.7 tonnes of active materials were used in public spaces in Denmark in 1995, compared to 2.3 tonnes in 2013, i.e. a reduction of 91%. This reduction was mainly due to reduced pesticide use in the railway sector, with significant reductions in the use of herbicides.


In France, pesticide use in parks and other public areas will be banned as of 1st January 2017 onwards, except in emergency situations in order to control the invasion of harmful species. Pesticide usage on railway lines, in airports and on roads is not covered by the ban. See the official campaign


In the Netherlands: the last few details still need to be approved, however the new law includes a decree on plant protection products and biocides – Non-agricultural use of weedkillers, containing following elements:

- On pavements, pesticide use is banned from 1st March 2016, both for professional and private users.

- For other areas (green areas), they are banned from the end of 2017 onwards. This ban applies to professional users, and a number of exemptions are available (sports grounds, play areas, certain ornamental gardens etc.).


Luxembourg has decided to get pesticide free in public spaces from 1st January 2016.  See the official campaign.