Pesticides

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 10th March 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Green

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the legal requirements for local authorities to report their use of glyphosate and other chemical pesticides and herbicides; and what central record is kept of the use of such chemicals.

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

Pesticides, including glyphosate and other herbicides, are strictly regulated and their use is only authorised if a scientific risk assessment shows that there will be no harmful effect on human health and no unacceptable effects on the environment. There are specific risk assessments for the use of pesticides in amenity areas, which includes local authority use. There are also controls on the use of pesticides, including training of users and testing of application equipment.

It is for local authorities to determine the need for pest and weed control in their operations and to decide how to deliver this effectively without harming people or the environment. There is a legal requirement to minimise the use of pesticides along roads and in areas used by the general public and a number of local authorities are exploring practices that help meet this requirement.

Local authorities are not required to report their use of chemical pesticides and no central record is kept. The Government does commission and publish surveys of pesticide use. These focus mainly on the use of pesticides in farming, but surveys of amenity use have been carried out from time to time, most recently in 2016.

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