Petition Save the bees: cut hazardous pesticides and support nature-friendly farming
The Government should introduce an ambitious target for pesticide reduction, aimed at decreasing the overall amount used and toxicity levels. This should be coupled with new support for farmers to adopt alternative approaches to protecting crops, such as integrated pest management.
Using pesticides to protect crops must be balanced against the long term dangers they pose to nature, such as harming critical pollinator species. For example, neonicotinoids are highly toxic to bees, but despite being prohibited the Government has authorised their use.
A clear pesticide reduction target, alongside new support for farmers in adopting alternative approaches, should encourage innovation and help protect the health of the British countryside and food security for future generations.
This response was given on 8 August 2022
The Government is committed to developing and implementing policies that support sustainable crop protection with the minimum use of pesticides.
The Government's landmark Environment Act 2021 commits to halting the decline in biodiversity by 2030. Developing and implementing policies that support sustainable crop protection with the minimum use of pesticides, while ensuring pests and pesticide resistance are managed effectively, will play an important role in achieving this as well as safeguarding food security.
As set out in the Agricultural Transition Plan, by 2028 we want to see a renewed agricultural sector, producing healthy food for consumption at home and abroad, where farms can be profitable and economically sustainable without subsidy. We also want to see farming and the countryside contributing significantly to environmental goals, including addressing climate change.
The National Action Plan (NAP) for the Sustainable Use of Pesticides, to be published later this year, will set out measures for increasing the uptake of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and sustainable crop protection across agriculture, amenity and amateur sectors. IPM is a holistic approach which carefully considers all available plant protection methods, including increasing the use of nature-based, low toxicity solutions and precision technologies. We are working with farmers and stakeholders to develop new incentives under the future farming programme’s Sustainable Farming Incentive to support the uptake of IPM for introduction in 2023.
We have been assessing the role of targets, as well as the benefits and challenges of developing them, to support the ambitions of the final NAP. Improving indicators and establishing baselines is an important first step to ensure that goals are meaningful, measurable and drive positive change.
Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
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