Environmental Audit Committee

17 October 2002

Pesticides: The Voluntary Initiative


Wednesday 23 October 2002

Nearly three years ago, the Committee examined the issue of pesticides taxation in the context of its review of the Government's 1999 Pre-Budget Report.   In the last stages of the Committee's inquiry, the Government announced that it would explore a voluntary partnership approach with the industry, rather than proceed with a tax.  The Government finally agreed revised proposals submitted by the industry in February 2001.  The Voluntary Initiative commenced in April that year and is due to operate until March 2006.  It is coordinated by a Steering Group composed of signatories to the agreement, together with representatives from some environmental and other organisations.  The Chairman of the Steering Group, Professor Barry Dent, is independent and is responsible for reporting to the Environment Minister on progress.

The Environmental Audit Committee now wishes to examine the progress being made with the voluntary approach.  It will take evidence on 23 October from organisations represented on the Steering Group, including signatories to the agreement, environmental organisations, and the independent Chairman, Professor Dent.   Timings will be approximately as follows:

4.20 Crop Protection Association, National Farmers Union, National Farmers Union of Scotland, Ulster Farmers Union, Country Land and Business Association.

4.55 English Nature, Environment Agency, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Water UK.

5.30 Professor Barry Dent, independent Chairman of the Steering Group.

This session will be held in Committee Room 20 and is open to the public on a first come, first served basis.  If you wish to confirm any details closer to the meeting please call the Committee Information Line on 020 7219 2033.



1.  The Environmental Audit Committee considered the issue of pesticides taxation in its Fourth Report, The Pre-Budget Report 1999: Pesticides, Aggregates and the Climate Change Levy,  HC 76 of Session 1999-2000.  The Government response is printed as an appendix to the Committee's Sixth Report, Budget 2000 and the Environment, HC 404 of Session 1999-2000.