Nursery consultant John Adlam said over 30 products commonly used by ornamental growers could be lost were the European Parliament to approve the stricter version of the proposals in autumn (see tables and HW, 26 June).
The list includes products such as Dynamec, used to control spider mite and thrips on ornamentals, SuSCon Green, which is incorporated into growing media to control vine weevil, and Chess, which is used against Aphis gossypii.
Adlam said: "At the stroke of a minister's pen it would leave us unable to meet our customers' needs. We will be unable to provide blemish-free plants and even fulfil our own food needs in the UK."
HTA business development manager Tim Briercliffe said: "The issue for ornamentals growers is that there is a wide range of products in comparison to edibles production. The pesticides used are much more diverse and so the challenge for them (if products are withdrawn) is much greater." He added: "It's necessary to provide zero tolerance for the consumer these days. If certain diseases break out there won't be a product to protect against it. For example, powdery mildew could destroy a whole crop."
Adlam also discussed the "catch-up" process by which Long-term Arrangements for Extension of Use on ornamental products are being converted into Specific Off-llabel Approvals (SOLAs).
Over the next six years, when pesticides are registered the Pesticides Safety Directorate (PSD) will issue SOLAs to specify use on crops not already on the label.
But Adlam warned: "The process will keep us on our toes. The HDC and the HTA will have to be telling you which LTA has finished and is becoming a SOLA. The change in paperwork may alter the application rate, method or location so users need to be careful."
He added: "There will be a degree of loss of choice because, for funding reasons, it is anticipated that only two or three products with the same active ingredient will be issued with a SOLA."
The PSD has committed to funding the estimated £100,000 cost of the entire "catch-up" programme. At present, the cost of each SOLA application is £675 with an annual incremental increase of £205 per year for five years, rising to £1,700.
The HTA has now produced a template letter guiding growers on how to lobby MEPs and ask them to vote against the proposals. It is available by calling the HTA helpline on 0118 930 3132.
Briercliffe said: "We would like the MEPs to vote against the proposals as a whole. If the proposals are approved a compromise could be thrashed out but a compromise would still cause major problems for the horticulture industry."
PRODUCTS AFFECTED BY THE EC PROPOSALS
Butisan S metazachlor
Dursban/SuSCon Green chlorpyrifos
Hallmark lambda cyhalothrin
Stroby kreoxim methyl
Toppel 10 cypermethrin
PRODUCTS NOT AFFECTED BY THE EC PROPOSALS
B Nine daminozide
Filex propamocarb hydrochloride
Savona fatty acids
Stalwart, No Fid nicotine*
THE HTA TEMPLATE LETTER RECOMMENDS STATING:
- A request that MEPs vote against the proposals in the autumn;
- The additional amendments proposed by the EU Parliament would leave no control products for most pests and diseases, and leave growers in an impossible position;
- The industry is not in a position to abandon the range of products proposed by the "cut-off" criteria in the commission's review of EC 91/414;
- Pesticide applications have reduced dramatically through the use of IPM and the newer active ingredients are far less environmentally damaging;
- UK growers have made changes to ensure their firms are environmentally responsible by embracing schemes such as the Voluntary Initiative, Environmental Management Schemes, ISO 9000, ISO 14000, COSHH and FEPA training along with NRoSO, FACTS and BASIS;
- Increased costs of inputs along with blemish-free plants and ever greater standards are being demanded by the retail plant market.