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UK Consultation Begins on Pesticides

01 August 2012

UK - A consultation process has begun on new legislation which will regulate the pesticides industry.

Defra has invited views on the draft UK National Action Plan (NAP) for pesticides.

This is the next stage in the implementation of the EU Directive on the sustainable use of pesticides which was transposed into UK law on 18 July by the Plant Protection Products (Sustainable Use) Regulations 2012.

The National Action Plan (NAP) is designed to ensure that plant protection products can be used sustainably in the UK and is to be developed in consultation with stakeholders including members of the public.

Industry Response

Commenting on the consultation on a draft UK National Action Plan for the Sustainable Use of Pesticides, Friends of the Earth Nature Campaigner Sandra Bell said: "A national pesticide action plan is urgently needed to tackle the damage these chemicals can inflict on our health and wildlife.

"But today's proposals contain no real commitment to phase-out the most harmful pesticides or help farmers find alternatives.

"Pesticide-use is increasing on crops pollinated by bees, heightening the risk to them - action to reverse this must be a priority.

"France has banned a pesticide linked to the dramatic decline in bee numbers - the UK should suspend neonicotinoids while their impact is assessed.

"Ministers must also set out plans to phase-out toxic chemicals used in our parks and schools grounds to protect children's health and boost nature in our towns and cities." Ms Bell concluded.

The NFU responded positively to the action plan, stating that Defra's evidence-based approach recognises the high standards of professional pesticide stewardship achieved by the farmers and growers.

The plan focuses on the continuing use of voluntary approaches to meet pesticide targets. Initiatives such as those promoted through the Voluntary Initiative are highlighted as ways to improve best practice without the need to regulate.

NFU Deputy President Meurig Raymond said: “The NAP consultation document appears to take a scientific risk reduction approach to pesticide usage, and bases its recommendations accordingly. We feel that this is a positive move, as a holistic, science-led approach to the management of pesticides is the right course of action.

“In addition, the recognition of the high standards of pesticide stewardship by the farming sector is welcome and justified, as the agricultural industry already operates to world leading levels of stewardship.

“We will be submitting a response to the consultation that outlines where we feel that the NAP draft can be improved, but overall we feel that the current draft is sensible and well thought out.”

Further Reading

You can view the National Action Plan for the Sustainable Use of Pesticides report by clicking here.

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