Pesticide Run-Off

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 20th December 2004.

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Photo of David Drew David Drew Labour/Co-operative, Stroud

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the latest research on pesticide run-off into water supplies; and what her Department's advice on sheep dipping is.

Photo of Alun Michael Alun Michael Minister of State (Rural Affairs), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Earlier research indicated that surface runoff from crop protection pesticides applied in the field to adjacent surface water was low compared to the amount that reached surface waters from field drains or applications of herbicides to man made surfaces. Therefore recent research has concentrated on pesticide movement from the field to surface waters via field drainage systems. This research has shown that recommendations on the timing of applications were critical for minimising water concentrations.

Defra has now commissioned a project looking into the scientific basis for mitigation differentiated by soil type to reduce pesticide transport to surface waters in drain flow. The results of this work are expected towards the end of 2007. The Department has also recently completed research that developed a model to estimate pesticide concentrations that arise from run-off from hard man made surfaces to surface water.

The Environment Agency is also funding development of a Decision Support tool which will enable us to determine the environmental impact of different land use combinations. Within this tool will be a module that considers pesticide impacts. This tool will be available within 1–2 years.

Since 1 April 1995 the sale and supply of OP based sheep dips has been restricted to only those people holding a Certificate of Competence. The Certificate of Competence scheme is run by the National Proficiency Tests Councils (NPTC) and covers all aspects of the use of sheep dips and of dip disposal.

In 1998 an advisory booklet (AS29) entitled "Sheep Dipping" was produced jointly by HSE; SEPA; VMD and the Environment Agency. The booklet provides detailed guidance on sheep dipping including the correct disposal of sheep dip. This booklet was sent to all sheep farmers in 1994 and again in 1998 and is available free of charge from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) and online:

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