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Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Plain English

A friend of mine who has an allotment received a letter recently from the Association for Public Service Excellence seeking to explain the changes in the law on the storing of pesticides. Unfortunately, the writer forgot that he was communicating with laymen and laced his missive with unintelligible jargon. When my friend asked the local Council for guidance the experts there could not translate all of the instructions. I do not have a copy of the original letter but I do have my friend's reply which is duplicated below:

Association for Public Service Excellence
2nd Floor, Washbrook House
Lancastrian Office Centre
32, Talbot Road
Old Trafford
Manchester M32 OFP

(What an excellently long address)

cc Mr Andrew Lewis, Technical Services, Neath Port Talbot Borough Council

Dear Mr Marsh,

As an ordinary allotment holder, I have received a copy of your list of banned pesticides/ Unfortunately, I only speak English and I cannot understand the preamble to the list of chemicals and their suppliers. I would be extremely grateful if you would translate some of the phrases and sentences you used in your letter.

What is an APSE Briefing (Especially one numbered 40/03)?

Where would read Directive 91/414/EEC? (Presuming as an allotment holder there is some reason for reading it)

What does the phrase Products with unsupported active substances mean?

Can you actually give me information and details of a down wind period?

I notice that the expiry dates of the products is available in All Approved letter 18 and All Approved Holder letter 25. What is an Approved Letter? As far as I know I have never received one, if I get one will I get more than one?

Regarding the Approved Essential Uses: The following essential uses continue to be permissible under the Long Term Arrangements for Extension of Use - You quote that we may continue to use sodiumm monochloracetes on collard. What the hell is Collard - no-one grows it on our allotment - Should we now grow it so that we may put sodium monochloracetes on it.
Products with Off-Label Essential Uses: I understand what a Product with an Essential Use is - but what is an off-label essential use?

Plant Protection Uses Only Withdrawn: Presumably all these chemicals are used either to feed (assist) a plant or kill the plant - does this mean that previously you could protect a plant with the chemical Armillatox, but now you use the same chemical to kill it?

Jeyes Fluid - on the same theme, I do understand.

Yours, respectfully.

PS - Just as a matter of interest were you awarded the name Association for Public Service Excellence after years of Excellence in Public Service or was the name just chosen at random

To be fair Mr. Marsh replied in equal good humour. If I can get hold of that letter I will post it as well.

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