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

The answer has no more relevance to the by-election in Brecon and Radnor than to any other part of the country where aerial spraying is carried out. Since 1967 the Liberal party has sought effective controls on spraying, and it has regularly passed motions to that effect at its assemblies. The motion to which there were signatories from the alliance called for effective control of spraying. It did not say there should be no control; rather that such control should be better. There will be exceptions, and those were canvassed in Committee.

The early-day motion seeks effective control of aerial spraying. That is a view that my hon. Friends unanimously support. It does not mean that aerial spraying should be discontinued if it is impossible to spray by other means. The geography of Britain would make that a ludicrous position, and we have not adopted it.

The other amendment states that there should be a review so that we can ensure that there is integrated pest management. We have seen failures as a result of contradictory methods of pest management in the past. I do not blame the Department for that, or those who have used those different methods. The amendment requires that we look at the application of pesticides.

My hon. Friend the Member for Yeovil (Mr. Ashdown) has similar concerns about other amendments. This is a continuing process. We are continuing to improve the mechanism and are learning by experience.

The only way of ensuring that a Department does what the amendment requests is to make sure that a review is presented to Parliament in the same way as Royal Commissions present their reports through Ministers to Parliament. In that way we can ensure progress along the line that the Bill intends. That will ensure that intention becomes reality.

I hope that the Minister will reassure us that what is sought by both amendments, supported by Members on both sides of the House, will be responded to positively by the Government. I hope that the Government will report back to the House so that we have the information on which to evaluate the effectiveness of this legislation.