HC Deb 23 March 1989 vol 149 cc723-5W
Mr. Malcolm Bruce

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will ban the use of pesticides manufactured before 1965 until after the completion of his review on safety.

Mr. Ryder

At the present time no risk to health is suggested which would warrant an immediate ban on pesticides which were approved before 1965. The routine review programme announced on 16 March will enable the independent advisory committee on pesticides (ACP) to re-evaluate the available data and if necessary require additional or updated data from companies. The ACP will then be in a position to make any recommendations it considers necessary.

Mr. Malcolm Bruce

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he expects his review of the safety of pesticides manufactured before 1965 to be completed.

Mr. Ryder

The completion date for the review of pesticides approved prior to 1965 cannot be estimated until all relevant data sheets have been prepared and ranked in priority order for consideration by the advisory committee on pesticides. In addition, the time taken for each review of an active ingredient will vary.

Dr. David Clark

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what are his estimates for the number of staff he will employ in evaluating old and new pesticides in each of the next five years; and if he will make a statement;

(2) how many staff he has employed to evaluate old and new pesticides since 1985; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ryder

Staff at the Ministry's pesticides data evaluation unit are involved in the evaluation of pesticides for agricultural use. The number of scientific posts are as follows:

1985 22.5
1986 32.5
1987 32.5
1988 43.0
1989 52.0
1989–94 1
1 Staffing levels are under review.

Of these, there is a core of staff engaged full-time on new active ingredients and the review programme and these will be supplemented by other technical experts in the unit, those in other Government Departments and by the independent experts on the advisory committee on pesticides and its scientific sub-committee.

Dr. David Clark

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what monitoring he carries out of pesticide incidence in wildlife; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ryder

[holding answer 20 March 1989]: My Department operates two schemes in England and Wales. The ADAS wildlife incident investigation scheme responds to reports of the deaths or illness of companion animals (chiefly cats and dogs), wildlife (mammals and birds) and honeybees, and to the discovery of possible poisoned baits.

Information resulting from these investigations is made available to the advisory committee on pesticides, to be used in the course of making recommendations concerning pesticide registration. If there is evidence that incidents have involved misuse of pesticides, in contravention of the Control of Pesticides Regulations or other legislation, further investigations may be conducted to obtain evidence for use in enforcement action.

Surveys of pesticide residues in wildlife are undertaken periodically by the working party on pesticide residues.

In addition, my Department has recently completed a seven year field study at Boxworth experimental husbandry farm into the environmental impact of different pesticide strategies on winter wheat. Annual reports have been prepared, summarising the results of this in-depth ecological study and the full account of our findings are now being prepared for publication.

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