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Efforts to raise the standard of professionalism within the pest management industry are gaining traction in Europe.

A new standard and accompanying certification scheme was officially launched on March 17th and discussed at a conference with the pest management industry, policy-makers and other European stakeholders organised by the umbrella trade body for urban pest control, the Confederation of European Pest Management Associations (CEPA).

CEPA President Bertrand Montmoreau believes the launch of CEN standard EN16636 and CEPA Certified will help raise the bar for both members and their customers. “This is a positive step that will ensure pest controllers can benchmark themselves against the best in Europe, and will have strong benefits for customers too.

“We know that in many European markets, there are some pest controllers who are untrained and do not stay up-to-date with the latest products, pests and legislation. With the new standard and certification scheme, clients can be totally confident that they are getting a professional service.”

Mr Montmoreau added, “This enables us to portray a positive image to the general public of the vital role that our industry plays at a European level. In terms of public health, food safety, environmental sustainability and economic significance, it is a key part of our effort to protect citizens responsibly.”

Dr Peter Whittall of Tripod Consulting, who helped develop the standard said, “We brought together ideas from across Europe of what best practice looked like. People in the industry developed the standard to make sure it is relevant and defines what a quality job is.

“Pest control is changing. It is now about how you protect assets and public health and tackle issues such as the increasing resistance in pests to the biocides we use. Our industry wants to further professionalise, and the new standard and certification scheme provides a unique benchmark for this.”

Companies wishing to meet the standard must be assessed on joining the scheme and at 18-month intervals thereafter. The certification scheme acts as an assurance that companies are fully qualified to deal with all species of rodents and insects and are well versed in integrated pest management, the use of chemicals, and health and safety issues. The scheme requires that staff take part in continuing professional development, and so ensures that they will always be up to date with the latest techniques and developments in this fast-changing sector.

“This sends out a strong message that when people use companies carrying the CEPA Certified logo, they can have peace of mind that the job will be done properly,” added CEPA vice president Henry Mott. “We want this to become the mark of a true professional, and for clients to know to look for this logo every time they select a pest control company.”