These blog items are where individuals/s have asked to develop an action such as a petition by collaborating to achieve a successful action.

Petition UK - Target reduction in pesticide

This aim in the manifesto scored highly in the assessment of all the aims, page 70 onwards of the manifesto by Professor Dave Goulson.

Target a reduction in pesticide use of 50% and complementary actions as other countries have done.

Ian Boyd, Defra’s chief scientists, recently admitted “The current assumption underlying pesticide regulation—that chemicals that pass a battery of tests in the laboratory or in field trials are environmentally benign when they are used at industrial scales—is false”. 

The reduction measures are fully explained the A Peoples Manifesto for Wildlife by Professor Dave Goulson.  The first 3 proposals refer. On the full description the issues are on Page 72, and measures 1-3 are described on pp73-74.

1. Set target for a 50% reduction in both the weight of pesticides used and the number of pesticide applications per field by 2022. France and Denmark have recently set clear reduction targets of 50% and 40%, respectively. Many pesticides today are used in a preventative manner, rather than when indispensable to fight an existing pest problem. Therefore, by addressing challenges on a farm by farm basis and adopting innovative techniques such as new methods for mechanical weeding, it would be possible to decrease the overall deployment of chemicals in the countryside whilst maintaining similar levels of productivity. In fact, a study carried out in France has shown that a substantial decrease in pesticide use would have no negative impact on either productivity or profitability on 77% of 946 non-organic farms analysed. Therefore, a 50% reduction isn’t an unrealistic target to achieve - and in fact both France and Denmark have recently set clear reduction targets of 50% and 40%, respectively. 
2. Introduce a pesticide tax. Denmark recently did so, the tax representing 34-55% of sale price of the pesticides. The idea of taxing pesticides with the purpose of reducing environmental and health risks associated with their use has been around since the mid 1980s, with Sweden leading the way and introducing the first pesticide charge in 1984. Since then, other Scandinavian countries have implemented a similar model. In Denmark, for example, taxation is calculated based on the quantified damage on the environmental and human health resulting from the actual use of the pesticide and studies have shown that the human health risk has decreased sharply since the introduction of such policies.
3. Use revenue from the pesticide tax to fund an independent advisory service for farmers, with on-farm field trials to test effectiveness of pesticide reduction measures / alternatives to pesticides. Many reviews have highlighted the primary challenge in pesticide use reduction in the widespread adoption of best practices. In other words, how do we let every farmer know what the best practice is? This is where the importance of applied research, demonstration farms, advisory resources, on-field trials and the dissemination of knowledge comes in and is absolutely crucial. Of course, this costs money. What better way to fund these positive initiatives than by using the revenue from a pesticide tax?

Legislation changes proposed: This is both setting a target but new legislation would be required to set a tax in place. It is probably sufficient in this case to have draft legislation ready should the petition reach a large number of signatures. Of course, I'm hoping for 100,000 but I have to be realistic unfortunately. With your, and many individuals helping, the possibility exists.

 Petition wording proposed (UK government for all nations):

Set targets for pesticide us in the UK, introduce a tax funding farming with less use.

Set target for a 50% reduction in both the weight of pesticides used and the number of pesticide applications per field by 2022. France and Denmark have recently set clear reduction targets of 50% and 40%, respectively. Many pesticides today are used in a preventative manner, rather than when indispensable to fight an existing pest problem. Introduce a pesticide tax. Denmark recently did so, the tax representing 34-55% of sale price of the pesticides. Use revenue from the pesticide tax to fund an independent advisory service for farmers.

 

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Friday, 23 August 2019