The UK Government should use the opportunity created by Brexit to promote greener agricultural practices, including a reduction in pesticide usage, a campaign group has said.
Pesticide Action Network –UK (PAN-UK) called on the Government to establish strong regulatory controls on pesticides including targets and incentives to cut their usage as part of a five point plan for a more sustainable farming system outside of the EU.
Defra has already stated that it will be reviewing pesticide rules as part of the preparation for EU exit.
PAN-UK said it is possible to cut pesticide use while maintaining yields and profits, but farmers need help and incentives to do so. It is calling on the Government to ban the most highly hazardous pesticides and promote less harmful and non-chemical methods of managing pests, diseases and weeds.
“Intensive farming is intrinsically linked to pesticide use, and has caused major problems. We need to help farmers switch away from reliance on pesticides to a more sustainable form of agriculture,” said Dr Keith Tyrell, director of PAN-UK.
The group’s five point plan also calls for the use of subsidies to promote greener agricultural practices, and greater support for small-scale farms and for the organic sector.