Pesticide Standards

Date: 26.06.21 | in: Agriculture, Animal Welfare, Environment

It is vital that we uphold Britain’s high animal welfare, food safety and environmental standards in all future trade deals, including UK pesticide standards to protect public health, the environment and prevent our British farmers from being undercut.

I voted for amendments, including amendments successfully passed by the House of Lords, to both the Agriculture Bill and the Trade Bill to ensure that agricultural products cannot be imported into the UK if they are produced to lower animal welfare, environmental, plant health and food safety standards than those required for UK products. Disappointingly, these amendments were voted down by the UK Government, despite its manifesto pledge to not compromise on standards in future trade deals.

The new Trade and Agriculture Commission has published a report of 22 recommendations, including on standards in trade deals. The UK Government must take note of this report, deliver more transparency over the implications of future trade deals for farmers, and avoid a race to the bottom in standards. Additionally, I believe there should be broader membership of the Commission to ensure proper scrutiny of trade deals.

More widely, the UK Government’s decision to allow the use of neonicotinoid pesticides on sugar beet crops raised questions about its commitment to environmental protection. I opposed this decision and voted for an amendment to prevent the Government from lifting the ban on neonicotinoids by ensuring greater parliamentary scrutiny of exemptions. This was also voted down by the Government.

It is welcome that the exemption was later reversed, but we must keep working to make sure these harmful pesticides are banned and bees are protected for good.

We cannot trade away our British values in pursuit of a trade deal. I can assure you I will continue to press the UK Government to uphold our standards as well as calling for greater scrutiny of trade deals.

All details are correct at date of publication shown at the top of the article

Sign up to Alex's newsletter