The NFU has said it will persist in applying for the emergency use of neonicotinoid seed treatments on behalf of farmers facing pressure from cabbage stem flea beetle.
This follows Defra’s announcement that Farming Minister George Eustice has decided not to accept the NFU’s most recent applications.
“This is a blow for arable farmers across the country whose oilseed rape crops are under heavy threat from cabbage stem flea beetle. We are disappointed with the Minister’s decision; we strongly argued the case on behalf of our members,” said NFU Vice President Guy Smith. “We remain committed to obtaining approval for the emergency use of neonicotinoid seed treatments for this planting season. These plant protection products are absolutely vital in protecting England’s oilseed rape crop from pests.
“We are currently looking into making further applications,” he said.
DEFRA said it made decisions on pesticides based on the science only once the regulators are satisfied they meet safety standards for people and the environment. “Based on the evidence and advice from the UK Expert Committee on Pesticides, Defra rejected two applications by the National Farmers Union to use neonicotinoids on oilseed rape crops,” said a spokesperson for hte deparment. “Applications are considered by the Health and Safety Executive and by the independent Expert Committee before a decision is taken by Ministers.”