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Volume 180: debated on Monday 12 November 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to prevent the contamination of groundwater supplies by pesticides; and if he will make a statement.

My Department announced in a consultation paper on 31 October the Government's proposals for a national classification scheme for dangerous substances, including pesticides, which must be prevented from entering or must be limited before reaching groundwater. Department of the Environment circular 20/90 issued on the same day describes the steps to be taken by controlling authorities in respect of these dangerous substances.The Government are advised on the use of pesticides by the independent Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP). Only pesticides approved by Ministers may be used. The ACP's current review programme of pesticides was announced on 1 November and one of the matters that it will take into consideration is the potential for pesticides to leach into groundwater.The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Health and Safety Commission, and my Department prepared jointly a code of practice for the safe use of pesticides on farms and holdings which was issued last May.