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    Science Must Drive Pesticide Regulation
23/09/05

Reacting to the report published today by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, NFU Scotland has reiterated that science must dictate any future regulation. NFUS has stressed that safety issues on farms will always outweigh any other concerns. However, the Union is worried that further controls are being recommended in an already strictly regulated industry in the absence of scientific evidence.

Chairman of NFU Scotland's Combinable Crops Committee is David Houghton, a cereal producer from Easter Ross. He said:

"Nothing is more important than the safety of the products we use on the farm. My farm is a family home as well so I have to be absolutely convinced that anything I do is safe. That is why we have an incredibly strict regulatory regime. Rigorous testing is done long before any pesticides even get near the market.

"The industry needs scientific evidence to advise it on what can and can't be done and whether changes are required to the many precautions and protocols already in place. But at the moment, as the Commission's report itself says, the science is very uncertain. That makes the case for further research, not further regulations.

"Government must take on board the need for further work in this area and must look to Europe to ensure we have a consistent regulatory regime. However, an industry can't be expected to face further costly regulation before anyone knows exactly what needs regulating."

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National Farmers' Union
NFU Scotland