PAN UK is inviting Councillors and Council Officers from across the country to attend a Pesticide-Free Towns Conference in Brighton on the 18th of November. We will be delivering a program of informative presentations on the technical, economic and scientific aspects of amenity pesticide use, sharing experiences from case studies across the UK and Europe and providing detailed information about alternatives. The conference has been designed to support councils to go going pesticide-free in their local community and to make the transition as easy as possible.
The conference will host a range of speakers covering topics including:
Human health effects of pesticides
Environmental effects of pesticides
Case studies of other towns that have gone pesticide-free
Information on alternatives and cost implications
The advantages of going pesticide free for the council and for the community
To secure your FREE place at the conference, please contact Natasha on 01273964230 or via email at
PAN-UK will be attending the International Peoples' Tribunal on Monsanto in The Hague this weekend. We, along with other groups from the PAN International network, will be presenting evidence on the harm that Monsanto's products cause and will be sharing our new comprehensive review of the human health and environmental problems of Glyphosate - the company's bestselling weedkiller.
This is a moral tribunal, organized by civil society groups to protest the lack of available legal tools to hold Monsanto accountable for its actions. The Tribunal will assess specific allegations of harm made against Monsanto, as well as the human health and environmental damage caused by the company throughout its history. Eminent judges will hear testimonies from victims and experts, including PAN Internationa'ls Dr. Peter Clausing, Ms. Sarojeni V. Rengam and Mr Francois Veillerette. The panel of judges will deliver an advisory opinion following International Criminal Court Procedures. Monsanto representatives have been invited to attend.
The Tribunal also builds on the findings of the Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT), held five years ago in Bangalore, India and organized by PAN International.
In this “state of the science” review, PAN International presents a huge body of research documenting the adverse human health and environmental impacts of glyphosate and glyphosate-based products underscoring the need for a global phase-out. The monograph, on the world’s most widely used herbicide, commonly known by its original trade name Roundup, should serve as a wake up call for regulators, governments and users around the world.
Adverse human impacts detailed in the review include acute poisoning, kidney and liver damage, imbalances in the intestinal microbiome and intestinal functioning, cancer, genotoxicity, endocrine disruption, reproductive and developmental reduction, neurological damage, and immune system dysfunction.
Aggressive public relations and marketing by glyphosate’s developer, Monsanto, has resulted in the widespread perception that the chemical is ‘safe’. Registration processes continue to allow its use without raising concerns about its safety even as new data identifying adverse effects emerge.
This review dispels this myth of ‘safety’ and highlights the urgent need to re-examine the authorization of products containing glyphosate. A full chemical profile is presented, along with the regulatory status of products containing glyphosate in many countries and information on viable alternatives.
PAN-UK has launched it's new trainers' guide to using the Food Spray Method in cotton IPM systems.The food spray method is essentially a formula made from locally available natural ingredients which is sprayed onto crops to attract and retain beneficial insects that prey on pest species that can negatively impact crop yields. This, when used as part of an Integrated Pest Management system, helps farmers grow more cotton, more profitably without the use of expensive and harmful pesticides.
The manual has been developed from research conducted through PAN-UK supported projects in both Benin and Ethiopia.
Ten years ago, PAN UK began working with IPM expert Robert Mensah to develop a food spray, using cheap and locally available materials, to enhance populations of beneficial insects in smallholder cotton fields in Africa. Building on his pioneering work in Australia, and working closely with Davo Vodouhe and his team at OBEPAB in Benin, Robert conducted field trials and experiments in farmer’s fields to come up with a product that not only worked, but that farmers were comfortable using.
On the day that the NFU announced it was appointing the outgoing chair of the Crop Protection Association to head up its Brexit and international relations department, Defra Minister, George Eustice, has delivered a speech during a fringe event at the Conservative Party conference outlining his vision for a more toxic UK agriculture post EU.
In a tweet posted by the CLA, a landowner’s organisation, Eustice is reported as saying that following the UK’s departure from the EU he wants to see a pesticide authorisation system based on risk rather than hazard. This would mean that pesticides classed as carcinogenic, mutagenic, endocrine disrupting or that cause developmental problems could be approved for use.
This is simply the ramping up of the continuing pro-pesticides UK government position which has consistently opposed all measures to make the regulation of pesticides stricter and more precautionary. And Eustice is not the first to be seen to be eagerly awaiting the chance to deregulate and allow his friends in the pesticide industry to have their way.
PAN-UK delivers its Submission to the Environmental Audit Committee inquiry into “the Future of the Natural Environment in the UK After the EU Referendum.”
Given our expertise, PAN UK’s submission focuses on the use and misuse of pesticides in UK agriculture and the impact on the natural environment. Here, we highlight opportunities to address these threats through changes to the current regulatory and subsidy systems once the UK leaves the EU.
PAN-UK would like to see Ecological Focus Areas including protection for permanent grassland and expanded crop rotation, stronger requirements of farmers for keeping the aquatic environment free from pollutants including pesticides and dedicated support for nature friendly farmers. This support should include incentives for reducing the use of pesticides, with the establishment of a proper monitoring system for pesticide application, plus increased support for farmer training, advice and experimentation in Integrated Pest Management methods. One of our key asks is that the UK Government provides much greater support for the organic sector in order to increase the area of land farmed organically.
PAN-UK welcomes the news from The Hague this week that the International Criminal court (ICC) will – for the first time – turn its attention to crimes that drive environmental damage.
This means that company executives (potentially including pesticide companies), politicians and other individuals could now be held criminally responsible under international law for crimes that lead to environmental destruction.
The ICC Prosecutor has produced a new ‘Policy Paper on Case Selection and Prioritisation‘, which sets out the criteria it will use when choosing and ordering cases. The full policy can be found here but the key sections on land are as follows:
Paragraph 41 includes the wording “the Office will give particular consideration to prosecuting Rome Statute crimes that are committed by means of, or that result in, inter alia, the destruction of the environment, the illegal exploitation of natural resources or the illegal dispossession of land.”
Paragraph 7 - The Office will also seek to cooperate and provide assistance to States, upon request, with respect to conduct which constitutes a serious crime under national law, such as the illegal exploitation of natural resources, arms trafficking, human trafficking, terrorism, financial crimes, land grabbing or the destruction of the environment.
The policy also contains a number of other mentions of crimes leading to environmental destruction.
PAN-UK has long argued that companies should be held accountable for the harm their products cause and has backed the barrister Polly Higgins in her campaign for a new crime of “Ecocide”. This change in policy is a big step towards this goal.
The European Commission has licensed a completely new insecticide for use in Europe. Cyantraniliprole, like neonicotinoids, is a systemic insecticide and is highly toxic to bees. PAN UK is dismayed that the EC has decided to allow such a bee-toxic pesticide onto the market. It seems that officials have learned nothing from the disastrous introduction of neonicotinoids which more and more studies are linking to large scale pollinator declines. Cyantraniliprole is a systemic insecticide that works by affecting muscles in insects and eventually leads to death. This unusual mode of action means that it is effective against some pests that have become resistant to other classes of insecticide.
Like neonicotinoid insecticides – three of which the EC banned in 2013 because of concerns over their impacts on bees (ref 2) – it is a systemic insecticide and will be applied as a seed dressing. This means it will be taken up into the body of a plant rendering the whole plant toxic to pests that feed on it. However, experience with neonicotinoids, has shown that non-target organisms like bees and wild pollinators can also be harmed by systemic insecticides.
Cyantraniliprole is highly toxic to bees and PAN UK is concerned that the introduction of a new systemic insecticide will further harm our populations of bees and wild pollinators. Earlier this month, a comprehensive, multi-year study showed that wild bees have suffered “long-term and large-scale declines” in their distribution and communities since the introduction of neonictinoids (ref 3)
Instead of introducing new chemicals to deal with the problems of pesticide resistance, PAN UK is encouraging the government to support farmers to adopt more sustainable approaches like integrated pest management, which can cut pesticide use.
Brexit has major implications for UK agriculture. PAN UK is calling on the government to take this opportunity to create a new agricultural system that works for farmers and the environment by replacing the flawed common agricultural policy with a new system that rewards farmers for looking after our environment; gives smaller farmers a greater share of the subsidies; and supports organic agriculture. Brexit should not be an excuse to roll back environmental protection, in fact we should do more to boost biodiversity and cut pesticide use.
The UK’s decision to leave the EU has big implications for British agriculture as the UK agricultural sector is heavily influenced by EU policy. Not only is it subject to EU laws – including the Habitats, Water Framework, and Sustainable Use [of pesticides] Directives – but it is also dependent on the convoluted and flawed subsidy regime that is the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Unraveling this package is fraught with risks, but it also presents a unique opportunity to shape UK agriculture for a generation to come.
One of the key issues will be how any changes to the current regulations on pesticides are adapted. Defra has stated that “the UK government will also be reviewing pesticide rules as part of the preparation for EU exit.” It is vital that there is no weakening of existing regulations that are currently in place and that the UK develops a robust, sustainable pesticide regulatory system that ensures the most hazardous pesticides are taken out of use and that there is an overall goal of reducing significantly the use of all pesticide throughout UK agriculture.
Read our five-point plan (below) for a more sustainable UK farming sector below.
More evidence linking neonicotinoid insecticides to large scale bee declines has been published adding more weight to PAN UK's call for a permanent ban on the use of all neonicotinoids in the UK.
A new report examining the effects neonicotinoid pesticides on wild bee populations in England was published on 16th August in the journal Nature. The study, led by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, clearly shows that wild bee populations have suffered large scale and long term declines since the introduction of neonicotinoid insecticides. The report itself is based on a correlational study looking to see if there are significant relationships between data on wild bee populations and incidence and data on oilseed rape acreages and neonicotinoid treatment over an 18 year period before and after the introduction of neonicotinoids to the UK (1994-2011). While this does not provide absolute proof, if that were even possible, it does provide an extremely convincing association that adds significantly to the already large body of scientific evidence showing that neonicotinoids cause harm to wild bees and other pollinator species.
PAN UK's Policy Officer, Nick Mole, has provided an up to date list of the status of all the places around the world that are in the process of banning Glyphosate. It is possible to go pesticide free in our towns and cities. Check out the list to see who is leading the way. This list is not comprehensive however so if you have any additional information please contact us at
PAN UK, and over 80 other environmental, health and consumer organisations, has written to David Davies and Theresa May to stress the important implications of Brexit on food and farming. With many of the UK’s food and farming policies and subsidies being defined at EU level, the UK government now has an opportunity to reshape these to ensure that taxpayers money is spent for public good.
The organisations, representing the health and long-term interests of millions of British citizens, called on government to adopt common-sense food, farming and fishing policies that are good for jobs, health and the environment, when they plan for the UK’s exit from the European Union. The letter, argues that good food, farming and fishing policies must be central to any post EU Referendum strategy for the UK.
Dave Goulson, a trustee of PAN-UK and well known bumblebee biologist, tells us about the potential issue of the pesticides we put on our pets getting into the environemnt and poisoning bees, earthworms and other essential organisms in our ecological communities.
Every summer we have a family holiday in France, and every year we have to solve the problem of finding someone to look after our loveable mongrel dog, Poppy. Last year we opted for an eccentric lady who takes dogs into her own home when their owners are away; her place is full of animals, and rather whiffy, but we figured that Poppy would much prefer it to kennels, and we were correct. The only problem was that she came back with fleas, which prompted my wife to pop her in to the vets. They sold her some Advocate flea treatment, recommending a monthly prophylactic dose year in, year out. As someone with a professional interest in pesticides I looked at the small print on the packet to see what was in it, and was horrified to see that it is was a neonicotinoid insecticide, imidacloprid.
PAN-UK welcomes the recent decision by DEFRA to uphold the EU ban of neonicotinoids, for a secind time.
DEFRA have rejected a second request from the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), for permission to apply neonicotinoids in order to control cabbage stem flea beetle in oilseed rape this summer.
The facts are, yeilds are up and there is no need to use these pollinator poisons any longer.
One of PAN-UK's donors, FRUGI, explains how and why they source thier organic cotton and the impact it has on the farmers they know.
Since Frugi began in 2004 we have believed passionately about caring for people and the environment. We want to be completely ethical, honest and transparent in everything we do and we firmly believe that producing beautiful, great quality organic clothing shouldn’t mean compromising our planet. That’s why our clothes had to be organic; because it’s better for everyone; from the farmers who grow our cotton to the children who wear our clothes.
The European Commission has finally decided to extend the approval for glyphosate for 18 months to allow the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to assess the science and provide advice. While it’s disappointing not to achieve a full ban at this point in time, it is still a partial win none the less.
PAN UK is disappointed that the European Commission has decided to act unilaterally in the face of strong opposition from some member states and go against the advice of the European Parliament and extend the approval of glyphosate – even if it is only for 18 months. This 18-month period comes without any binding restrictions on use that would help reduce public exposure to glyphosate. Instead the Commission has presented some incredibly weak (and ultimately meaningless) recommendations to Member States on actions they ‘could’ take if they want. Lets hope some of them do!
Textile Exchange (TE) welcomes the work of PAN UK and partners Solidaridad and WWF in creating the recent “Sustainable Cotton Ranking” report. By raising the visibility – and leadership – of major cotton users converting to “more sustainable” cotton, we have the opportunity to create a race-to-the-top. We think it's important to challenge and inspire the industry to keep advancing. A sustainability journey should incentivize movement along a continuum and recognize progress. We invite others to join us in understanding what that looks like for cotton.
PAN Europe along with thirty one other signatories of European environmental, health, trade union, consumer protection and medical organisations sent an open letter to EU leaders pointing out the legal considerations of a prolonged reauthorisation of Glyphosate. Read the full letter here.
We all know the horror stories of the cotton industry -- poverty prices and wages, exploitation, pollution levels that outrank most other industries, waste, to name but a few.
The recent release of the PAN report Sustainable Cotton Ranking Assessing company performance is an illuminating insight into how major brands are addressing these problems and worryingly, not many are doing enough.
PAN-UK welcomes the recent decision by DEFRA to uphold the EU ban of neonicotinoids, due to their link to pollinator decline.
DEFRA rejected a request from the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), for permission to use ‘emergency’ applications of neonicotinoids in order to control cabbage stem flea beetle in oilseed rape this spring. Their request would have undermined a Europe-wide ban on the use of three neonicotinoid insecticides that was introduced to assess the effect, if any, on yields and pollinator populations .
In fact, the data so far shows minimal impact on yields and there have been no major flea beetle outbreaks since the ban came into force.
The decision to continue to protect our pollinators from these debilitating chemicals is good news for the future of British agriculture Maintaining the ban will allow decisions about the health of our countryside to be based on observation and science rather than propaganda from profit driven industry.
The controversy over the reauthorisation of glyphosate in the European Union continues as news that the predicted decision on approval today again has been postponed.
It is clear that there is serious disagreement among Member States about how, or if, this probable carcinogen should be approved for use across the EU. France and Italy are both opposed to reauthorisation, seven other countries were prepared to abstain from a vote and the remaining 19 countries, shamefully including the UK, were in favour of its continued use.
Whilst no new deadline for a decision has yet been set, if there is no decision by 30th June it is possible that the use of glyphosate in all areas – including agriculture – will be banned as this is when its current approval period comes to an end.
It is hoped that this further postponement will allow time to persuade more Member States that the citizens of the EU do not want this toxic poison to be used to grow our food, contaminate our parks and playgrounds or be sprayed in our home gardens.