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Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of a voluntary approach to pesticide reduction in agriculture. [126690]

Provided that the Voluntary Initiative is fully implemented, the Government believes that it will be effective in reducing the environmental impact of pesticides. Progress with the Voluntary Initiative is kept under close scrutiny. In drawing up the planned national pesticides strategy, the Government will consider whether a policy of targeted use reduction might help achieve the overall aim of impact reduction.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she takes to ensure that the activities of the Pesticides Safety Directorate are consistent with the Food Standards Agency in relation to the pesticide reduction strategy. [126691]

Both the Food Standards Agency and the Pesticides Safety Directorate are fully in support of the regulatory system for pesticides, which aims to ensure that pesticides do not pose unacceptable risks to people or to the environment when used according to statutory conditions. In addition, the Pesticides Safety Directorate has a policy to encourage practices that further reduce the risks that pesticide use poses to the environment. The Food Standards Agency has a policy of encouraging reductions in residue levels of food below statutory levels.Both bodies are aware of the need to work together to ensure that these complementary policies work well together in practice. They are working closely together on these and other issues.