BAA attacks flawed plan to tax pesticides

27 August 1999

BAA attacks flawed plan to tax pesticides

THE governments proposed pesticide tax is flawed and risks being sunk by its own complexity, the British Agrochemicals Association stresses.

The BAA highlights an analysis of the chemical banding proposals by Gareth Edward-Jones of the University of Wales which it commissioned to make its point. Under them even water could attract a tax, it suggests.

Prof Edward-Jones describes the DETRs consultation paper as "poorly researched and written" and found it made no attempt to differentiate data, for example on residues in food, derived from different countries.

"The underlying difficulty is that growers use pesticides as a matter of need so usage patterns will not respond readily to taxation," says the BAAs Patrick Goldsworthy.

High tax differentials would be needed, and none of the environmental hazard rates or bands put forward would persuade growers to switch to supposedly "safer" products which is one of the aims of the tax, he believes.

The idea worked well in the case of the move from leaded to unleaded petrol. But with over 450 active ingredients, over 3000 crop protection products and at least 4300 combinations of crops and pest, pesticide banding is a different matter, Mr Goldsworthy suggests. &#42

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