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 Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 5:45 pm, 26th June 1985

I also support the amendments. It is unnecessary to elaborate the concern rightly expressed by the hon. Member for Harborough (Sir J. Farr) and others. The Bill gives us an opportunity to put down a marker saying that, rather than allow uncontrolled expansion of this practice, we shall change direction. I welcome the fact that the Government have accepted that. However, we need also to make sure that progress in that direction is continued.

I read the Committee debates on the subject. My view has always been that certain areas such as those quoted by the hon. Member for Pontypridd (Mr. John) need aerial spraying. The hon. Gentleman and my hon. Friend the Member for Ceredigion and Pembroke, North (Mr. Howells) had an exchange about marginal hill land in Wales. I know that in areas of Snowdonia and the Brecons one cannot gain access to the hillside to spray by other methods. However, for reasons that have been clearly advanced we should be moving towards the principle that aerial spraying is the exception rather than the rule.

Amendment No. 33 is a simple and straightforward amendment to ensure that there is a process of monitoring movement in that direction. It is a well tried and tested device used by the House to make sure that Ministries are responsible to us and report back on the progress that is made. Only if one sets a direction can one, over time, cause production and agricultural machinery and techniques to be adapted to move in that direction. That is why the amendment is important. We do not want the Bill to set a signal that is not followed on by consistent review to ensure that spraying is reduced rather than increased and that the methods and efficiency and accuracy of spraying is improved.