Leading figures from farming, agricultural chemical manufacturing and crop protection distribution are holding a summit this week to discuss concerns over the effects of increasing regulatory pressure on effective crop protection.
Senior figures from the NFU, the CLA, the Voluntary Initiative and senior representatives from the Crop Protection Association and the Agricultural Industries Confederation will meet at the NFU’s HQ at Stoneleigh on Wednesday.
NFU president Peter Kendall said: “The ever-increasing regulatory pressure on effective crop protection means farmers are facing a growing challenge to produce the high-quality British food consumers want.
“While the safety of the crop protection products that are used is of paramount importance to all parts of the food chain, it is worth noting that the restrictions onthe use of, or the loss of, cropprotection products are not driven by human health or food safety concerns.
“The vast majority are driven by arbitrary environmental standards, such as the EU’s Drinking Water Directive which has concentration threshold levels which have no basis in human or environmental health concerns, or concerns over the declinein bee populations, which isover-simplistically attributed to certain pesticides even though there is no field-based evidence to substantiate this conclusion.
“It is essential that any decisions made about the availability for use of these products are based on robust scientific evidence.
“Over-precautionary regulation relating to pesticides, resistance to technological innovation by regulators, and the consequences of shortsighted decisions on issues such as disease, pest and weed resistance, are making it increasingly difficult for farmers to produce the food we all enjoy.
“The aim of the summit is to reach agreement on ways forward to tackle the threats of over-precautionary legislation and barriers to innovation at EU and UK level.
“It will also look at ways the whole of the food production chain can work together to identify opportunities for improving and enhancing crop protection by existing and novel means, while ensuring a responsible and scientifically robust approach is taken to all regulatory issues.”