Defra has announced that farmers and growers will continue to have access to EU-approved pesticides.
Under current timelines, access to EU-approved pesticides was set to be terminated on December 31, but the government shared plans with Parliament which, once agree, will come into force before the end of the year.
Following feedback from farmers and industry, these plans will ensure farmers and growers can continue to buy and use seeds treated with EU-approved pesticides, and more cost-effective pesticides identical to those authorised in Great Britain can continue being imported.
The plans will not only provide certainty to farmers so they know which treated seeds and plant protection products they can use in coming growing seasons, but will also help improve the availability and reduce the cost of pesticides.
These treated seeds are important for both the arable and horticulture sectors and are particularly important for maize – a crop that is crucial for dairy farmers and in energy production.
Farming minister, Mark Spencer, said: “The government recognises the challenges faced by farmers and growers in importing treated seeds and more cost-effective pesticide products from the EU as the transition period concludes.
“Ensuring that British farmers and growers have access to the tools they need to produce food sustainably and affordably is a priority. The measures announced today will address the potential impacts and concerns raised by our valued farming sector.”
The temporary measures will enable farmers and growers in Great Britain to continue using seeds treated with plant protection products authorised for use in the EU for an additional 3.5 years, extending up to 1 July 2027. It will also reinstate trade permits for the import of PPPs that are identical to those authorised in Great Britain for a maximum of two years.
In the long term, this change will ensure manufacturers have time to submit full applications for GB authorisations for seed treatments in order to ensure that they can continue to benefit from the UK market. They have heard from farmers and understand the demand – the regulator will continue working with industry to support them in submitting successful applications.
Defra is encouraging farmers to develop and adapt their practices, including through integrated pest management approaches, which can increase resilience by diversifying crop protection techniques. Farmers are being supported to increase their use of integrated pest management through new paid actions such as the Sustainable Farming Incentive scheme’s integrated pest management Standard which includes payments to carry out an assessment and produce an integrated pest management plan.