HC Deb 08 July 1999 vol 334 cc622-3W
Mr. Stinchcombe

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will ban the use of lindane for seed treatment; and if he will make a statement. [90837]

Mr. Rooker

We have now banned the use of lindane to treat seeds in England, Scotland and Wales. We have considered carefully the representations received as a result of our announcement of 18 June 1999,Official Report, columns 233–34, that we planned to implement in full the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Pesticides. We understand that the decision will cause real difficulties to some companies and farmers but we have not received any further evidence to suggest that the risk to operators from treating seed with lindane was significantly less than that assessed by the Committee. I have therefore acted, with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, Scottish Ministers and the Welsh Assembly to revoke the approvals for the use of lindane to treat seed as of July. Similar steps are being taken in Northern Ireland.

The Committee has advised that the risk to farmers from using lindane-treated seed is acceptably low. Farmers may also adopt other strategies to combat pests including other cereal seed treatments or crop sprays.

Consumers may be reassured that other approved uses of lindane, which continue for the present, do not constitute an unacceptable risk to consumers.