CRD adviser says ministerial uncertainty will not delay directive implementation

Uncertainty over ministerial positions should not affect UK moves to implement new pesticides legislation over the coming months, according to a Government adviser.

The Chemicals Regulation Directorate (CRD) is scrutinising almost 300 responses to its consultation on implementing the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive after the deadline passed last week.

It will formulate an "outcomes document" based on analysis of the responses that will set out how the Government will implement the directive.

CRD environmental policy adviser Grant Stark told HW some of the big issues raised included the possibility of a ban in public spaces as well as use-reduction targets.

"We need to get in touch fairly quickly with new ministers, whoever they may be, in the next six or seven weeks," added Stark. "We still need four or five weeks to go through the responses, but if we still didn't know then who the final ministers will be, that might potentially delay things. At the moment there is still enough slack in the system for it not to be a problem."

Bodies that responded to the consultation included the British Association of Landscape Industries, the Amenity Forum, the British Crop Production Council (BCPC) and the HTA, which have all opposed any reduction targets.

The HTA worked with the British Retail Consortium, Crop Protection Association and HDC on its response, which highlighted the need to use current measures wherever possible. It argued that measures such as a specific reduction target are "over-bureaucratic" and "unworkable".

HTA director of business development Tim Briercliffe said: "We believe our response is a balanced view of future requirements for pesticide use, which is of critical importance to the industry as a whole."

Meanwhile, the BCPC targeted 40 key points, focusing in particular on risk assessment, water protection, research and education.

"We have referred to the need for R&D several times and we believe this is a crucial area that needs to be revitalised in the UK," said BCPC chairman Colin Ruscoe.

"As well as providing advanced-level training, we need to deal with the lack of good-quality crop protection specialists, who are needed to undertake R&D so that UK pesticide policy can be implemented in the most effective way.

"This is critical if we are to deliver sustainable increases in food production in the face of both demand and the reducing armoury of crop protection products resulting from EU legislation."

Stark added that following publication of the outcomes document there would be nine to 12 months when any new legislation is created and voluntary approaches agreed with industry bodies.

That would ensure a "reasonably easy transition", he explained. The directive must be transposed and implemented by member states by 25 November 2011.

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