NFU urges farmers to have say on spraying

Farmers are being urged to make sure their voice is heard as DEFRA consults on the implementation of new EU rules on pesticides.

The NFU is encouraging members to email their views on DEFRA’s proposals in order to shape its official reponse to government.

NFU plant health adviser Paul Chambers said: “This is a very important consultation which could have significant impacts on the way pesticides are used so we will be fully consulting with our members before giving a detailed response to DEFRA.

“We understand the concerns of some people about the use of pesticides. However, this group of chemicals is already very highly regulated and farmers and growers have widely supported voluntary measures like sprayer testing and spray operator training.”

DEFRA recently launched its consultation into how the UK will meet the European Directive on the Sustainable Use of Pesticides – legislation which was passed last year and covers the sale, marketing and use of crop protection products.

The directive marks the first time pesticides have been regulated at a European level.

The consultation looks at issues like sprayer testing, training of operators and people selling pesticides, specific measures to protect water, aerial spraying and the promotion of integrated pest management.

In addition, it considers whether neighbour notification should be necessary and if there should be access to spray records.

As a result of the legislation grandfather rights will have to disappear and it will be compulsory for all professional pesticide users to keep records for three years.