Sustainable use of Pesticides - Your chance to influence the future

There has been a lot of speculation as to when 'they' will ban pesticides. Now 'they' in the form of the EC is starting to take action. Unusually a public consultation letter invites all interested parties to contribute their views which will be noted by the UK government's representatives at the negotiating table.

So now is your chance to influence the decision makers and get your views on the future of pesticides (plant protection products) in the turf management industry counted.

In the working document the sports turf industry is not mentioned but landscape gardening, forestry, and domestic gardening are included. The income generated and employment created by the sports turf and affiliated industries is certainly equal to that generated by some of those included.

So you can see that it is important that the members of the turf industry make their views known.

EC policy on agriculture and water resource management calls for the development of further measures in the area of agricultural and non agricultural pesticides with a view to ensuring their sustainable use and a decrease in 'the input of chemicals to the point that none of the basic natural processes is effected'.

It is almost certain that measures effecting agricultural pesticides will also be applied to the sports turf industry because, notwithstanding the economics of pesticide research, registration and production the new rules will also take ground water quality into consideration.

The main objective of the EU strategy is: minimising the hazards and risks to health and the environment from the use of pesticides, improved controls in the use and distribution of pesticides, reducing the levels of harmful active substances including through substituting the most dangerous with safer, including non chemical alternatives, and encouragement of the use of low input or pesticide.

Free cultivation
A transparent system for the reporting and monitoring progress made in fulfilling the objectives of the strategy...

About 320,000 tonnes of pesticides are sold in the EC of which fungicides account for 43% followed by herbicides 36% insecticides 12% and others 9%.

My company, Symbio, is dedicated to the development of healthy plant growth with minimal recourse to pesticides but we do recognise that the demands placed upon the turf professional in terms of quality and the constant use of playing surfaces means that some pesticides, particularly herbicides and insecticides, will be needed for many years to come.

If you want your views on the future use of pesticides in the turf industry to be submitted for inclusion in the decision making process please send your comments to me by email at martin@symbio.co.uk including your name and address to arrive no later than October 16, 2002.

Your comments will be sent, as written, to the Pesticide Safety Directorate, they will then be acknowledged by the PSD and sent to DEFRA and used to prepare the UK stance to be taken at the negotiations in Brussels.

It will be particularly helpful to get your views on areas where you believe pesticide use could be reduced and those areas where you believe pesticides as they stand to be absolutely essential to the management of sports turf.

The EC intends to make firm proposals for action at the beginning of 2004 so your response will possibly effect the tools you have available to do your job in the near future. Action is required.

If you would like a full copy of the EC document entitled 'Towards a thematic strategy on the sustainable use of pesticides' email martin@symbio.co.uk. Further information can be obtained from http://europa.eu.int/comm/environment/ppps/home/htm

For further information contact
Martin Ward
Symbio
38 Bookham Industrial Park, Church Road,
Great Bookham, Surrey KT23 3EU
Tel: 44 (0) 1372 456101
Fax: 44 (0) 1372 456099
Email: martin@symbio.co.uk
Website: www.symbio.co.uk