New Clause 1 — Enforcement Powers in Connection with Pesticides: Entry and Search by Force Without a Warrant
Orders of the Day — Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill
Colin Breed (Shadow Minister, Environment, Food & Rural Affairs; South East Cornwall, Liberal Democrat)
We are dealing with three distinct and serious issues. First, there is the poisoning of birds, particularly birds of prey, which, regrettably, still takes place far too often. Indeed, there was a well-known case in the west country recently. Secondly, we are dealing with the possession of pesticides that have become unbelievably potent and dangerous, and can be used in various ways. They are not, however, illegal substances. They have a legitimate use but, sadly, they are sometimes used for illegitimate ends even though they are held legitimately. The third serious issue can be summed up as "My home is my castle" and the problem of a continuing drift towards what is almost a police state. Powers must be qualified so that they focus on the offence that needs to be eradicated. That will not happen by giving extensive powers to the police and others that are open to misuse. I put it no more strongly than that. There have been far too many worrying examples of the over-enthusiastic use of powers given to the police and others in recent times. When we give powers to bodies, we should do so in the full knowledge of how they will be used.