Tell the UK Government that intensive pesticide use is not ok!
Our food and farming system is stuck on a chemical-reliant treadmill and we need it to stop.
Despite the increasing evidence of the dangers, pesticide treatments have been going up and highly toxic pesticides remain in use. Farming has become reliant on the intensive use of pesticides and they’ve found their way into our food, our soils, our rivers and our wildlife.
The problem with pesticides:
- Pesticides are considered to be a major contributor to our nature and wildlife crisis.
- Pesticides can affect our health.
- Pesticides trap farmers in a system that only helps a handful of corporations.
We have the chance to do something about this!
The UK Government has launched a public consultation into their forthcoming National Action Plan on Sustainable Pesticide Use. This is your chance to say it’s time to put nature, wildlife and our health first.
Have your say
Pledge support for Soil Association’s three demands of the National Action Plan on Sustainable Pesticide UseSign the pledge now
Why the National Action Plan is important
This latest Action Plan is well overdue. It also comes at a critical time for UK farming as we leave the EU and forge our own agricultural policies.
Farmers must be supported to transition to nature-friendly, agroecological approaches, like organic, that don’t rely on pesticides. Despite previous commitments from UK Government to reduce pesticide use, the support farmers need is not in place.
Intensive pesticide use has been a bedrock for our current unsustainable farming system; changing it is a huge challenge and yet absolutely vital if we are to move to more sustainable farming. It is essential this new plan acknowledges the extent of the problem and is truly ambitious about changing this, for the sake not only of wildlife and our health, but also other connected issues like nitrogen pollution and soil degradation.
Your pledge can make a real difference
The current draft of the National Action Plan needs to be far more ambitious, otherwise action and future targets risk being superficial. Lobbying from agrochemical companies is likely already in full sway, trying to water-down what is currently in the draft plan, to protect their profits. They will succeed unless there is enough of a push back from NGOs and the public.
That is why it’s so important as many people as possible know about this and pledge support for the 3 key things we are demanding in the Action Plan. Will you add your voice to support these?
We want an ambitious national pesticide reduction target - both by amount and toxicity.
Given the intensity of their use, it may seem crazy, but the UK Government has no targets around reducing pesticide use in the UK. This is something we have long called for and it looks like we are close to finally winning. The current draft includes a commitment to new metrics and targets to reduce the risks associated with pesticides by 2022. We need to secure this win. But we also need to go much further. For example, these targets should be as good as, or better than, the EU’s proposed target on reducing pesticide use and the associated risks, by 2030.
We want commitments to ensure farmers get the necessary financial support, independent advice, and research. And this must focus on encouraging natural pest control mechanisms and an emphasis on the growth of a healthy crop, with minimal chemical inputs and the least possible disruption to farm ecosystems.
Relying on voluntary measures is not enough, farmers need support. Currently there is little advice and research available to farmers focussed on reducing the risk of pests and disease in the first place. So, this really does have to change, and this needs considerable government commitments. For example, public funding for farmer led and agroecological research needs to increase substantially.
We want phase-outs of the use of pesticides in certain areas such as near schools and playgrounds, and of pesticides that are particularly concerning for wildlife, endangered plants, and human health.
This is about acknowledging the alternatives and better applying the precautionary principle. There are great examples of pesticide free towns that show the first part of this is more than possible. And history has shown that we keep leaving it too late to phase-out those of particular concern. It is time we stopped history repeating.
Add your voice now to be heard – tell the Government enough is enough!
Want to know more about the pesticide problem?Find out more