§ 11.9 a.m.
§ The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government under what conditions aerial crop spraying is authorised, what are the restrictions against dangers and whether they can now explain why, on 14th July, children in their playground at Branston, near Lincoln, were endangered first by a low flying aeroplane and secondly by toxic spray.
My Lords, aerial crop-spraying is authorised by permissions issued by the Civil Aviation Authority under the Air Navigation Order. Operators are required to conduct their activities in accordance with requirements published by the Authority. Only chemicals cleared for aerial application under the Pesticides Safety Precautions Scheme may be used. The incident involving school children at Branston on 13th July is being investigated by the police. As these inquiries may disclose an offence, the House will not expect me to say more about that incident at this stage.
My Lords, certainly the chemicals are closely supervised, as my original Answer indicated. They are cleared under the Pesticides Safety Precautions Scheme, and these chemicals are constantly given the attention of the experts.
My Lords, I saw a report in the Press that 50 children, though not harmed, were taken to hospital for precautionary examination, but the facts have not yet been established; this is the point of the police inquiry. So I should not wish to be categorical about any of the facts.
Lord DE CLIFFORD
My Lords, can the noble Lord say Whether the operators of these spraying flights are required to notify people in the area that they intend to carry out aerial spraying, so that people can take precautions if they wish to do so?
Yes, my Lords; there is a requirement that, wherever practicable, prior warning should be given to those people living in the immediate vicinity of the area to be sprayed. Moreover, the local police should also be informed.