Farmers and growers are doing much to reduce the environmental impacts of pesticides, according to two reports published today (31 May).

But, despite an 18% reduction in pesticide sales in 2005, and increased participation by pesticide users and advisors in voluntary activities, the levels of pesticides found in surface water samples were higher during 2005 compared with previous years, the Pesticides Forum said.

In 2005, 7.98% of pesticide samples were above 0.1 μg/litre, compared with 5.43% in 2004 and 7.69% in 2001. However, the report acknowledged that heavy rainfall in the west of the country in autumn 2005 during pesticide application periods could have contributed to the high 2005 results.

“Our understanding of these matters does not lead us to believe that 2005 was a problem year in relation to practices adopted by users of pesticides,” said James Clarke, the new chairman of the Pesticides Forum.

“This highlights just how much we need to know to fully understand what is happening. The Forum will continue to work with member organisations to better understand the reasons for this increase and to develop effective solutions.”

The Pesticides forum –set up by Ministers in 1996 – plays a key role in advising government on new initiatives, such as the UK Pesticides Strategy, or the EU’s Thematic Strategy for Pesticides, he said.

Either of the reports can be accessed below:
Pesticides Forum Annual Report 2006

Pesticides Forum Indicators Report 2006