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SECURING AND STRENGTHENING UK PESTICIDE STANDARDS IN 2020

Policy briefing for parliamentarians February 2020

The following is a broad overview. PAN UK is keen to provide further detail on the issues outlined below. Please contact Josie Cohen, Head of Policy & Campaigns, josie@pan-uk.org / 01273 964 233 Introduction 2020 is a pivotal year for UK pesticide legislation and regulation. There are a number of unprecedented opportunities to put in place measures that will significantly reduce pesticide-related harms to human health and the environment. If we take these opportunities the UK could become a world leader in food, farming and environmental standards. In contrast, this year also presents some major threats to existing UK pesticide standards which parliamentarians have the chance to defend. These efforts will be watched closely by the British public, 78% of which think the UK government should be doing more to support farmers to reduce pesticide use. Pesticide use in the UK has risen significantly in the past three decades. How the UK chooses to govern pesticides will have profound implications for the health of citizens, the natural environment and the future of UK farming. It is absolutely crucial that we get it right.

Overview of key opportunities 2020 In broad terms, the processes that need to be completed before the end of the transition period in order to safeguard UK pesticide standards include:

6 Conversion of EU pesticide laws into domestic legislation, ensuring that the new UK system is fit-for-purpose in terms of protecting human health and the environment;

6 Negotiation of UK trading relationship with key countries (including the EU and US) and to what extent our pesticide standards will align;

6 Fill the ‘governance gap’ by ensuring that UK institutions are fit for purpose to carry out roles previously performed by EU bodies (such as authorising specific active substances for use and setting limits for the amount of a pesticide that’s allowed to appear in food);

6 Create a new system for agricultural subsidies which will support farmers to reduce their pesticide use and reward those already using minimal or no pesticides.

KEY LEGISLATIVE AND POLICY PROCESSES IN 2020 Agriculture Bill 6 The new “public money for public goods” approach is a huge opportunity to support farmers to adopt and maintain non-chemical alternatives to pesticides. It’s crucial that this approach is not undermined by a catch-all clause providing payments for productivity.

6 PAN UK is pushing for the inclusion of an amendment on encouraging the adoption of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices in England. The Government’s commitment in its 25 Year Environment Plan to ‘making IPM central to our approach’ has yet to be implemented.

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Securing and strengthening UK pesticide standards in 2020 - policy briefing for parliamentarians

Agriculture Bill - Key Recommendations Put in place measures to encourage the adoption of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) including;

6 Introduce incentives for farmers to adopt IPM practices, for example through the Environmental Land Management Scheme.

6 Increase support for research into IPM and ensure that farmers have access to independent agronomic advice which includes expertise in IPM.

6 Facilitate farmer-to-farmer learning on IPM.

Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) 6 It’s crucial that ELMS is designed in a way which drives the uptake of genuine IPM approaches and subsequent reductions in pesticide use. Otherwise, the scheme is highly unlikely to be able to deliver effectively on its overall objectives.

ELMS - Key Recommendations Put in place measures to encourage the adoption of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) by UK farmers including;

6 Ensure that all elements of the design of the ELMS scheme – including the payment design, land management plan, guidance and advice – are able to promote IPM.

6 Set up an IPM Working Group made up of independent experts for ELMS to inform all stages through to 2027.

6 Provide investment into the research, training, facilitation, demonstration and advice required for all farmers and land managers to be able to deliver the outcomes using IPM approaches.

Environment Bill 6 This is a key opportunity to lock in existing pesticide standards by supporting a straightforward and substantive commitment to non-regression of environmental law.

6 The Bill obliges the government to set environmental targets on a range of areas including biodiversity and water.

Environment Bill - Key Recommendation 6 Introduce a quantitative pesticide reduction target alongside an improved monitoring system which measures the impact of pesticides on human health, the environment and wildlife.

Trade Bill 6 PAN UK is joining the call for trade democracy. The current absence of any transparency or opportunities for public scrutiny make it much more likely that countries with lower pesticide standards will be able to force the Government to weaken UK pesticide protections.

Trade Bill - Key Recommendations 6 Ensure a meaningful role for MPs and peers in free trade agreement negotiations including setting the mandate, amending and rejecting trade deals and reviewing trade deals with the ability to withdraw from them in a timely manner.

6 Ensure full transparency in trade negotiations and opportunities for public scrutiny.

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Securing and strengthening UK pesticide standards in 2020 - policy briefing for parliamentarians

UK/EU future relationship 6 Maintaining alignment with EU pesticide standards will not only preserve our existing health and environmental protections, it will also ensure that British farmers can continue to export their produce to EU Member States, which currently accounts for 60% of the UK agriculture export market.

UK/EU future relationship - Key Recommendation 6 Maintain alignment with EU pesticide standards including the EU list of approved active substances and Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs).

Trade deals with third countries including the USA 6 Trade deals with non-EU countries pose significant risks to UK pesticide standards and could lead to higher levels of more toxic substances ending up in food imported to the UK.

6 The UK/US trade papers leaked in December 2019 revealed that weakening UK pesticides standards is a priority for the US government in particular.

6 As well as having negative impacts for human health and the environment, this would undermine UK farming by allowing in imported food produced cheaply to poor standards.

Trade deals - Key Recommendations 6 Ensure that no weakening of UK pesticide regulations or standards occurs as a result of trade negotiations with non-EU countries.

6 Maintain the EU’s ‘hazard-based’ (rather than revert to a ‘risk-based’) approach to pesticide regulation in general, and active substance approvals in particular.

National Action Plan for the Sustainable Use of Pesticides (NAP) 6 Defra has committed to launch a public consultation in March/April to update its ‘2012 National Action Plan for the Sustainable Use of Pesticides’. This is another key opportunity to drive a reduction in pesticide use and related harms and put in place measures to encourage the adoption of IPM by UK farmers.

NAP - Key Recommendations 6 Put in place measures to encourage the adoption of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) by UK farmers (see Agriculture Bill recommendations above for more detail)

6 Introduce a quantitative pesticide reduction target alongside an improved monitoring system which measures the impact of pesticides on human health, the environment and wildlife.

6 Introduce a pesticide levy or tax to disincentivise use, with revenue reinvested into supporting farmers to adopt sustainable practices.

6 Phase out the use of all non-agricultural pesticides, including amateur and urban use.

Statutory Instruments (SIs) 6 There will be a whole raft of SIs going through parliament this year. They serve a range of purposes including; transposing new EU pesticide regulations up until the end of the transition period; fixing problems/mistakes created by previous SIs bringing EU legislation over into UK law and implementing various Brexit Bills (including the Agriculture and Environment Bills).

6 Despite Government assurances that the SIs are purely procedural, PAN UK’s previous work has spotted some huge problems (for example, when the text on endocrine disruptors was deleted entirely). It’s therefore crucial that parliamentarians take time to scrutinise SIs to ensure they do not contain changes which will weaken UK pesticide standards. 3


Securing and strengthening UK pesticide standards in 2020 - policy briefing for parliamentarians

SIs - Key Recommendations 6 Scrutinise all pesticide-related Statutory Instruments to ensure they don’t include provisions which weaken UK pesticide standards.

6 Where SIs replace EU bodies - such as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) - with UK equivalents, ensure that the relevant UK bodies have sufficient capacity, expertise and independence to carry out all functions pertaining to regulating pesticides previously performed at the EU level, including authorising active substances and setting Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs).

Further information 6 Integrated Pest Management (IPM) briefing: www.pan-uk.org/ipm-and-uk-agriculture/ 6 Building Integrated Pest Management outcomes into the design of the Environmental Land Management Scheme: www.pan-uk.org/environmental-land-management-scheme/

6 Introducing a UK pesticide reduction target: www.pan-uk.org/pesticide-reduction-target/ 6 Brexit and pesticides - UK food and agriculture at a crossroads: www.pan-uk.org/brexit-and-pesticides/ 6 Pesticide Regulation - Lessons learned from negotiating an EU-US trade deal: www.pan-uk.org/negotiating-an-eu-us-trade-deal/

6 Hidden Rise of UK Pesticide Use: www.pan-uk.org/pesticides-agriculture-uk/ 6 Statutory Instruments - Transitioning from EU to UK pesticide regime: www.pan-uk.org/transitioning-from-eu-to-uk-pesticide-regime-threatens-to-undermine-standards/

6 Sustain briefings on the Agriculture Bill: www.sustainweb.org/foodandfarmingpolicy/agriculture_bill/ 6 Trade Justice Movement briefings on Trade Democracy: www.tjm.org.uk/trade-issues/democracy-and-transparency

6 Greener UK briefings on the Environment Bill: www.greeneruk.org/briefings/environment-bill

PAN UK is keen to provide further detail on the issues outlined in this briefing. Please contact Josie Cohen, Head of Policy & Campaigns, josie@pan-uk.org / 01273 964 233

Pesticide Action Network UK PAN UK is the only UK charity focused on tackling the problems caused by pesticides and promoting safe and sustainable alternatives in agriculture, urban areas, homes and gardens. We have three decades of experience advising governments, parliamentarians and policy makers on how to reduce pesticide-related harms. Find out more about our work at: www.pan-uk.org

The Green Hub The Brighthelm Centre North Road Brighton BN1 1YD Telephone: 01273 964230 Email: admin@pan-uk.org

Profile for PAN UK

Securing and strengthening UK pesticide standards in 2020  

2020 is a pivotal year for UK pesticide legislation and regulation. There are a number of unprecedented opportunities to put in place measur...

Securing and strengthening UK pesticide standards in 2020  

2020 is a pivotal year for UK pesticide legislation and regulation. There are a number of unprecedented opportunities to put in place measur...

Profile for pan-uk