The NFU is deeply frustrated with the process toconsider its applications for emergency use of neonicotinoid seed treatment inthe UK.
The NFU understands that the Chemical RegulatoryDirective (CRD), which is part of HSE, and the Expert Committee on Pesticides(ECP) made their decisions in May to not recommend approval based on theapplication not being sufficiently limited or controlled. It has taken over amonth of confusion for the NFU to get this confirmed, despite the obviousurgency. The process as a whole has been described as painful and prolonged bythe NFU, and has prompted it to call for a more transparent process as itdeliberates a second application.
NFU Vice President Guy Smith said: It is extremelydisappointing that we have received a refusal to what we consider to be athorough and robust application; we submitted extensive evidence to support theneed for emergency use, which the ECP were convinced by, and we believe that wemade a very sound case for our application to be limited and controlled tothe areas which are in need of it, as required.
We have found the application process to beobscure, inconsistent and confusing; the NFU was not given full information ingood time to provide responses to regulators questions, interpretation oflegislation appeared to have changed and the NFU was left in the dark byGovernment until the last minute. All of this despite clear agreement of theneed for these crop protection products by farmers.
NFU combinable crops chairman Mike Hamblyexplained: AHDB Cereals and Oilseeds estimated 60,000 hectares either haventbeen planted or have been lost due to the unavailability of the products in2014. The UK needs oil and protein meal from these crops and this is a lossthat is simply not sustainable for the farming sector or the wider economy, andit is why the regulatory process to allow emergency use is so vital forfarmers.
Farmers in Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Romania andBulgaria have been successful in securing emergency use of neonicotinoid seedtreatments and will benefit accordingly. Meanwhile, farmers in the UK will beforced to rely on older, less effective products which will require repeatapplications of foliar insecticides that are less targeted. Its taking manysteps back agronomically and will lead to further resistance in pests; however,its the only option farmers have to protect their crop and investment.