The Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP) has criticised a report that recommended five-metre no-spray zones between fields and homes.
The report by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution – Crop Spraying and the Health of Residents and Bystanders – was published in September 2005.
It claimed that the five-metre zones were needed to protect the health of people living next to fields
But the ACP which advises the government on crop protection issues has now rejected that claim.
It strongly disagreed with the recommendation branding it an “arbitrary” and “disproportionate” response to scientific uncertainty.
The ACP argued that there was already a wide safety margin built into the current regulatory system.
The committee added that the Royal Commission failed to take these into account when writing its report.
But ACP chairman David Coggon said he acknowledged that the scientific knowledge of the possible harmful effects of crop spraying needed to be improved.
“It’s not a matter of science. It’s a matter of balancing what you do for the neighbours, against the disadvantages for the farmers,” said Professor Coggon.