Forum notes progress but loses Pesticides Action Network

The Pesticides Forum, which brings together stakeholders with differing views on pesticides and how to manage their impacts, has concluded that they were being used in a more sustainable way in 2013 than previously.

But the forum's annual report shows a falling out with one of its members, the Pesticides Action Network (PAN). Forum chairman James Clarke said: "You'll see from comments contained in this report that not all forum members agree with the conclusions that we draw."

He added that PAN has pulled out of meetings since February 2013. PAN said the forum has "lost its way" and is no longer a "critical friend" of Government but rather an "apologist" for Government's failing pesticides policy.

The report states: "Improvements are being made to the arrangements for training pesticide users and distributors and there is increasing awareness of the need to use an appropriate range of techniques for controlling pests, weeds and diseases in an integrated fashion, and the benefits from doing so.

"Pesticide users, distributors and advisers are engaging with continuing professional development training programmes in increasing numbers and a significant proportion of application equipment continues to be tested on an annual basis.

"There is a need to reduce the number of waterbodies that contain residues of pesticides to meet requirements of water-quality legislation.

"The data suggests that pesticide use could be having an indirect impact on biodiversity. However, the extent of this impact and the way pesticide use interacts with other land-management practices in affecting biodiversity is not clear.

"Monitoring and research to provide further evidence/information in this area would be welcome."

This report summarises findings from recent Government studies into practices in the amateur and amenity sectors. These sectors require additional guidance, particularly on handling, storage and disposal practice, according to the forum.

The structure of the forum's report reflects the format of the EU directive on the sustainable use of pesticides (2009/128/EC).

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