Glyphosate

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 24th April 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Kennedy of Cradley Baroness Kennedy of Cradley Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effects of using glyphosate as part of wider integrated pest management systems.

Photo of Lord Gardiner of Kimble Lord Gardiner of Kimble The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Glyphosate is approved for use as a herbicide following a thorough scientific assessment which showed that it is not expected to harm people or to have unacceptable effects on the environment. Each authorised glyphosate product has specific conditions of authorisation which are set out on the product label. There are also general rules on the safe storage and use of pesticides.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) aims to design farming systems to minimise the need for pesticides, including herbicides, and to make use of alternative approaches such as tailored crop husbandry and the use of natural predators. The 25 Year Environment Plan includes a Government commitment to put IPM at the heart of a holistic approach, by developing and implementing policies that encourage and support sustainable crop protection with the minimum use of pesticides.

Integrated weed management combines complementary weed control methods such as grazing, herbicide application and land fallowing. Following cereal harvest, cultivations are often used with well-timed glyphosate applications to manage grass weed populations prior to drilling the next cereal crop. This strategy, together with delaying drilling, can reduce the reliance on herbicides within the next crop. It can also reduce the risk of resistance development to any herbicides used subsequently. The use of complementary weed control methods in alternation with or instead of glyphosate is addressed on product labels. The Government also participates in the UK Weed Resistance Action Group, which has produced recent guidance on managing the risk of glyphosate resistance, and recommends a number of IPM methods when using or considering using glyphosate. These principles are relevant to the use of glyphosate in agriculture and horticulture, but also in amenity situations.

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