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Volume 703: debated on Thursday 17 July 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the proposed banning of pyrethroids will extend to household products for the treatment of flea, mite and tick infestations; and [HL4569]

Whether the inclusion of glyphosate on the proposed European Union list of banned pesticides will cover products used in private gardens, and by gardeners employed in the public sector by organisations such as the National Trust; and [HL4570]

What assessment has been made of the effect on the environment of banning all the pesticides on the proposed European Union list; and what products they will recommend that local authorities, the Highways Agency and British Waterways use to control pests and weeds; and [HL4571]

Further to the Written Statement by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 24 June (Official Report, Commons, 6–7 WS), why the co-decision proposal updating the rules on placing plant protection products on the market was to be adopted by the council without further discussion; whether this is normal procedure; and, if so, what rules decide which proposals are adopted in that way. [HL4572]

The Agriculture and Fisheries Council reached political agreement on 23 June on a compromise text of the Slovenian presidency for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the council concerning the placing of plant protection products (essentially agricultural pesticides) on the market. The Government expect the text to be adopted as the common position of the council and communicated to the European Parliament for its second reading in the autumn, in accordance with the codecision procedure laid down in Article 251 of the treaty.

The regulation will extend to all uses of plant protection products within the scope defined in the text, including those authorised for amateur use and for use in public gardens. It will not, however, extend to uses of household products for treatments such as flea, mite and tick infestations within the scope of Directive 98/8/EC concerning the placing of biocidal products on the market.

The eventual effects of the regulation cannot be predicted with certainty at this stage. The Pesticides Safety Directorate has published an assessment of the potential impact of proposals for approval criteria based on hazard and for comparative assessment and substitution of substances approved as candidates for substitution. A copy of the report, which considers 286 active substances, including glyphosate and pyrethroids, has been put in the Library of the House. It will not be possible to confirm which substances are likely to be caught by the regulation, and which are likely to remain available for continued use to control pests and weeds, until the negotiations are concluded and its provisions have been finalised.