9 March 2001

Spray tax proposals are dropped

THE government has dropped its plans to tax pesticides, opting instead for voluntary measures to encourage responsible use by farmers.

Chancellor Gordon Brown revealed the decision to drop the proposed spray tax in documents accompanying his Budget on Wednesday (Mar 7).

Farmers and chemical manufacturers had argued that taxing pesticides would have cost the industry £125m a year and had no environmental benefit.

Nevertheless, the voluntary proposals, which include training and crop-management programmes, is expected to cost farmers about £11m a year.

The NFU and the Crop Protection Association – which represents agrochemical manufacturers – had long opposed the tax plan.

Chris Wise, NFU crops adviser, said he was delighted that the government had dropped the proposals, although he was unaware of the final details. (For more on the budget see P26).