Pesticide bans must be based on sound science

Any decision to ban or restrict agricultural pesticides must be based on sound science, NFU horticulture chairman Sarah Dawson has warned.

Mrs Dawson was speaking after a report sponsored by the agrochemical company found neonicotinoid pesticides are worth up to £630m annually to the UK economy – money that could be lost if farmers were prevented from using them.

Earlier this month, a report by European scientists identified a number of risks posed by neonicotinoid pesticides to bees, prompting environmentalists to calls for the agrochemicals to face a partial or outright ban.

But Mrs Dawson said it would be wrong to take a overly precautionary approach, which would effectively prevent growers from using neonicotinoids before trying to establishing whether there was a scientific reason for reintroducing them.

“We want it to be business as usual – certainly within horticulture. We want to continue being behind solid robust science. There is a lot of science needed indeed before we can categorically come out and be very firm in suggesting one direction or the other.”

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