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Crop Spraying

Volume 301: debated on Tuesday 25 November 1997

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To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the Government's policy on the spraying of crops with sulphuric acid; and how such spraying is monitored. [16866]

All pesticides are subject to strict regulatory control and must be approved by Ministers before they may be marketed or used in the United Kingdom. Approval is given only after rigorous evaluation of detailed scientific data. Sulphuric acid is approved for certain uses and, providing it is used in accordance with its statutory conditions of approval, this use poses no unacceptable risk.The statutory "Code of Practice for the Safe Use of Pesticides on FarMs and Holdings", sets out precautions that farmers are required to take when spraying. These include measures to protect neighbours and workers and reduce risks to wildlife.The Pesticides Usage Survey, the Wildlife Incidents Investigation Scheme and the Working Party on Pesticides Residues monitor the quantity of pesticides used, possible incidents involving wildlife and residues in food respectively. The Health and Safety Executive inspectors are responsible for enforcement of the rules on spraying.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many complaints have been received by his Department about spraying with sulphuric acid in the past year. [16867]

Complaints over alleged ill effects resulting from pesticide use should be reported to the Health and Safety Executive's Pesticides Incident Appraisal Panel. The Panel investigated seven complaints related to the spraying of sulphuric acid between April 1996 and March 1997.In the past 12 months the Department has received 17 inquiries concerning the use of sulphuric acid as an agricultural pesticide.