UK tackles pesticides

Tax on the anvil

Published: Sunday 15 August 1999

the uk government has published a long-awaited Ecotec report on a possible pesticide tax. Existing policies have attempted to control pesticide damage by encouraging the use of relatively less risky pesticides and improving and controlling their application.

However experts feel that tackling pesticide pollution requires a dual approach of less risky pesticides and application techniques alongside less pesticide use.

A tax on pesticide in the uk will create a powerful incentive to reduce unnecessary pesticide use. The impact of a tax of 30 per cent on product price has been modeled.

The tax seeks to secure reductions in pesticide usage and substitute the use of some pesticides by less harmful ones. It also hopes to encourage use of alternative non-chemical techniques and improve efficiency in usage. It will also try and improve the pesticides and provide incentives for environmental protection measures.

"The vast majority of the revenues from the tax should be recycled back to farming which has long suffered from policies that have distorted the market and encouraged the development and use of risky technologies leading to avoidable problems, such as agro-chemical pollution, the bse crisis, and genetically modified crops (gmo) . The incentive of a pesticide tax and the targeted use of the revenues have a vital role in developing sustainable agriculture," says Tim Jenkins of Friends of the Earth, a non-governmental organisation, in an recently-written article.

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