Voluntary Initiative beats majority of 2007 targets

The Voluntary Initiative has achieved all of its major targets set for 2007, according to latest figures (see table).

Some 80% of the UK’s arable area has been reached by the scheme, which was set up in 2001 to avoid a £750m pesticide tax.

Targets for Crop Protection Management Plans, sprayer testing and the National Register of Sprayer Operators have all been met, although the Biodiversity and Environment Training for Advisors qualification fell short of its 1,000 certificate target.

“The response from farmers and growers, and their agronomists, has been really impressive,” said NFU vice president, Paul Temple. “It is clear from the thousands of CPMP returns we have received from across the UK the farming industry is taking their pesticide stewardship very seriously.”

Adding his congratulations, Agricultural Engineers Association director general, Jake Vowles said the results showed what could be achieved voluntarily, without the need for compulsory regulation.

“It’s been a fantastic effort from everybody. Three thousand more sprayers have been tested than in the same period last year and we are still counting.”

The VI has been extended for another two years. For more information, see www.voluntaryinitiative.org.uk


2007 target

CPMPs 1.5m ha registered with NFU 1.501m ha
NSTS 80% sprayed area 82.4%
NRoSO 19,500 active members 20,947
BETA 1,000 certificate holders 943 (1,069 applicants, but 126 failed)