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Stackyard News Jul 06

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Government Backs Union Stance on Pesticides

NFU Scotland has welcomed acceptance by Defra that proposed controls on the use of pesticides are not scientifically justified.


crop spraying

In September 2005, the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP) produced a report which recommended a number of additional controls on the use of pesticides. Most notably, these would have legally required buffer strips around the edges of fields within which pesticides could not be sprayed and would also have required farmers to notify all their neighbours prior to spraying.

NFUS stressed in its response to the report that it backs strict controls on the use of pesticides providing they are based on sound science, which the RCEP proposals were not. The Union also emphasised the significant level of controls already in place which are supplemented by the Voluntary Initiative and farm assurance schemes.

Defra has rejected these two key proposals which caused concern to NFUS.

NFUS President John Kinnaird said:

“I am pleased that Defra has reacted to our concern that these proposed controls were disproportionate by rejecting them.

“Nothing is more important than the safety of the products we use, after all, farms are family homes as well as workplaces. However, that is why we already have an incredibly strict control regime for pesticides and there is a great deal of testing done on these products before they ever get close to the market place.

“The Royal Commission said itself that there was some uncertainty over the science behind its proposals – that makes the case for further research not more regulation, the benefits of which were dubious.

“Prior notification in particular could turn into another bureaucratic nightmare and weather unpredictability requires some flexibility in spraying decisions. The last thing anybody wants is farmers being unable to spray when the conditions are most suitable because of a requirement to post notices and give the surrounding area notification beforehand.”

link Government's pesticide response a vote of confidence in self-regulation
link Defra consults on GM coexistance measures
link Search for Citrus Longhorn Beetles
link Crop Market Update from Gleadell

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NFU Scotland