Responding to a Wildlife Trusts report calling for plant protection product reduction targets, CPA CEO Dave Bench said;
“As recognised in the report insect decline is a multifactorial issue and it is widely acknowledged that the most significant factor driving biodiversity decline is habitat loss. The use of plant protection products helps prevent further habitat loss by ensuring we are as productive as possible on land already under cultivation, so that more land can be spared for nature elsewhere. Indeed, researchers from Cambridge University recently found that high-yielding farming delivered better outcomes for biodiversity, compared to low yielding systems.
“There is no evidence that trade deals would lead to increased plant protection product use as suggested in this report and the UK Government has consistently said that there will be no reduction in standards, something our sector fully supports.
“UK farmers and growers already practice an Integrated Pest Management approach, one which uses plant protection products only when necessary, resulting in reductions in the volume of product used. There is no evidence that setting arbitrary targets for further reductions would benefit biodiversity and at the same time would limit our ability to grow healthy, safe, affordable food.
"Everyone wants sustainable farms producing high-quality food at affordable prices but achieving this requires an evidence-based approach to policy, rather than recommending arbitrary reduction targets that may not help insects but would certainly affect our food supply."