HC Deb 27 March 1963 vol 674 cc1295-6
9. Mr. Farr

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the total number of notifications received by his Department and by the Secretary of State for Scotland under the Notification Scheme for Chemicals used in Agriculture in 1962, and the number of such notifications which failed to gain clearance by the advisory committee.

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

154 notifications were received. Twenty-one failed to gain clearance; 2 were withdrawn and three were cleared for extended trials only. Twenty were agreed only after modification of the manufacturers' original proposals. Fourteen were cleared provisionally for one year in order to obtain further data following commercial application, and these will be reviewed at the end of that period. Of the total of 134 notifications, only 35 related to new chemicals; the remainder were either for extension of the use of existing chemicals to other crops, or for new formulations of existing chemicals.

Mr. Fan

While I thank my hon. Friend for that reply, might I ask whether he is aware that of some 450 notifications which have taken place since the inception of the scheme in 1957 only about 20 poisons have failed to gain clearance? In view of this, is it not time more stringent methods of control were adopted?

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

No, Sir,. I am satisfied that the existing system, in which the Advisory Committee on Poisonous Substances receive notifications from the manufacturers, is working perfectly satisfactorily and that there is no need at this moment to do anything further.

Mr. Darling

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that if he is satisfied he is one of the few people in the country who are satisfied with the use of chemicals on the scale now operating? Is he aware that very few of the manufacturers themselves are doing any research into the long-term effects of chemicals and that very few of his own research organisations are engaged in such research?

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

Constant research is going on into the effects of chemicals on plant life and humans. I was saying that I was satisfied that the existing system works well within the given context.

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