Control of Pesticides etc.

Part of Orders of the Day — Food and Environment Protection Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 5:45 pm on 26th June 1985.

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Photo of Mr John Farr Mr John Farr , Harborough 5:45 pm, 26th June 1985

I welcome these amendments, which are both interesting and well worth consideration. Amendment No. 34 is a good amendment. We are all anxious to see farming problems controlled without the excessive use of pesticide. I shall speak to amendment No. 33, which concerns aerial spraying. The hon. Member for South Shields (Dr. Clark) served a useful purpose in promoting this matter for debate. There are grounds for concern, and it is no use saying that there are not. Some people have behaved badly and affected many people in rural areas, villages, hamlets and isolated houses by their lack of respect for whatever code of practice may exist.

We discussed a similar amendment in Committee and my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary said that the CAA, which controls the performance of aerial spraying, had established much tighter controls and that the regulations would be made available to the House. I hope that my hon. Friend will follow this up. I recognise the need for aerial spraying most of the time, and particularly in weather like this. Nevertheless, the practice badly lacks some good public relations. All neighbours must be informed before aerial spraying takes place. Spraying should be not less than 100 yd from the outside boundary of the area that is being sprayed. Spray should not go within 200 yd of villages and hamlets, as they do in my constituency. However careful one is, and however still the day, there is always a risk of some spray drift affecting a neighbour's property.

I welcome these amendments. I hope that my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary can give some idea of the acreage that is sprayed every year. I reinforce my belief that while we need aerial spraying, there must be a strict code of conduct. People who have not complied with the code of practice are bringing all the aerial spraying industry into disrespect. Therefore, I support the amendments.