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 Mrs Peggy Fenner Mrs Peggy Fenner , Medway 5:45 pm, 26th June 1985

I tried to reassure the hon. Gentleman that the draft regulations, which will come before the House within the time during which he would like a report, will give an indication, being the result of consultations, of the review of departmental responsibilities and of any views expressed to us about the aerial application of pesticides. I was asked for information about the tightening up process of the CAA. I will see that a copy of it is placed in the Library.

Amendment No. 34 does not take enough account of the work that the Government already support and finance on techniques of pesticide application and integrated pest management. Furthermore, it implies that the Government's other actions—such as this legislation—have nothing to do with our declared policy of reducing pesticide use to the minimum, consistent with efficient food production.

With the Agriculture and Food Research Council, ADAs has been in the forefront of the development of integrated pest control in the United Kingdom. Programmes based on parasites, predators, selective pesticides and fungal pathogens have been developed to control the major pests of cucumbers and tomatoes, and these techniques are being used on 70 per cent. of cucumbers and 40 per cent. of tomatoes.

We have also developed a supervised control programme for apples, involving close monitoring of the crop and selective, rather than calendar, spraying. Other integrated control programmes are available for the control of potato cyst menatode, the major pest of potatoes. The PSPS has already cleared a number of biological pesticides and an insect virus. Our work at the Boxworth experimental farm to investigate the effects on the flora and fauna of pesticides used on cereals includes an area of cereals under an integrated control system for evaluation. Currently, we have 31 separate commissions with AFRC for integrated control research.

In collaboration with the National Institute of Agricultural Engineering, my Department is investigating the design of field sprayers and the control of spray rates, an issue which particularly concerns my hon. Friend the Member for Lincoln (Mr. Carlisle). Work is going on to identify the physical factors which affect the formation, transport and deposition of spray droplets and to quantify how these factors affect spray deposit and spray drift.

Information from the analytical and laboratory studies of the design and development of field spraying equipment is made available to engineers for the design of equipment. My Department publishes an annual report on our research and development work which is available from the Stationery Office.

As I said at the beginning of my reply, the legislation in part III of the Bill is a major part of our strategy to ensure pesticide usage consistent with efficient food production.