11th January 2018
PAN UK welcomes the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan and in particular the commitment to support farmers working hard to protect the environment.
However, in terms of pesticides, the plan launched today is unfortunately light on detail and includes no new, concrete commitments. While PAN UK welcomes the inclusion of the already-announced decision to support further restrictions on the use of bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticides, there is little else in the plan that guarantees to increase the protection of our natural environment from the harmful impacts of agrochemicals. The sections on pesticides are extremely vague and appear to pay only lip service to alternative, non-chemical farming methods such as Integrated Pest Management. The use of urban pesticides – the most common way for the majority of people in the UK to be exposed to pesticides – is not mentioned.
Given Michael Gove’s warning that the UK is just 30 to 40 years away from “the fundamental eradication of soil fertility”, the lack of concrete action is a potential disaster for the UK’s environment. This plan was a chance for the government to follow the example of countries such as France and Denmark by introducing a clear target for reducing the UK’s overall use of pesticides. If the government is serious about delivering the Green Brexit it has promised, then we need a commitment to reduce the UK’s use of pesticides to be enshrined in upcoming legislation, including within the impending Agriculture Bill.
Find the UK government’s 25 Year Environment Plan here.
Check out our Brexit briefing to see what should have been included in the 25 Year Environment Plan in order to protect our natural environment from pesticides.