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Agriculture: Pesticides

Volume 715: debated on Monday 7 December 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress is being made to reduce the use of pesticide and fertiliser compounds in United Kingdom farming through the new hazard-based approval process. [HL339]

Two new pieces of European legislation, part of the EU thematic strategy on pesticides, were adopted and published by the European Commission on 24 November 2009. These were:

Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market; and

Directive 2009/128/EC establishing a framework for Community action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides.

The regulation will apply directly in all EU member states from 14 June 2011. The regulation introduces hazard criteria that will assess plant protection product active substances on their intrinsic hazard rather than their risks in use. Only substances passing these criteria will then enter the process of risk assessment. The transitional arrangements mean that these criteria will apply either when new active substances enter the regulatory system or when existing active substances are considered for renewal. It will therefore be some years before these hazard criteria have an impact on the availability of existing active substances.

EU member states are required to implement the directive into national legislation by 25 November 2011. One of the aims of this directive is to facilitate the further reduction of risks and impacts of pesticide use on human health and the environment. The directive provides member states with discretion on how this might be achieved. The Government will be consulting shortly on the approach to be taken when implementing the directive into national law. The new legislation does not apply to fertilisers.