Independent UK report praises VI achievements

UK - The achievements of the VI have been praised in a new report produced by the Central Science Laboratory (CSL), which says “farming practices and attitudes have changed for the better during the life of the VI” and “substantial” progress has been made.
calendar icon 1 February 2007
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Latest figures show the VI’s main schemes – Crop Protection Management Plans, the National Sprayer Testing Scheme, the National Register of Sprayer Operators, and the Biodiversity and Environmental Training for Advisers scheme - are on track to meet their targets for 2007.

So far combined registrations for CPMPs – which fell short in 2006 – are about 750,000 hectares.

Andrew Clark, head of policy services at the NFU, praised farmers for the prompt returns but urged those still to make a return to do so soon.

“I am pleased that farmers have got to grips again with CPMPs and are sending us their returns, but we really need all farmers and their agronomists to return them in time for the March 31 deadline. The fact that English farmers can receive two points/ha from Entry Level Stewardship is added incentive for their completion.”

NSTS is attracting more and more machines, scheme manager Duncan Russell said. “Test results are coming in thick and fast. We have had over 7,600 machines tested since last April. That represents just over 50 per cent of the sprayed area.”

For NRoSO, Camilla Buckley said: “Currently we have 20,813 active members and the latest CSL data shows that this is giving us coverage of over 85 per cent of the arable area.

“Some operators are in the critical period when they have to make sure they get the full 30 CPD points to remain in the scheme and they should make the most of the many training opportunities available at this time of year.”

BETA is a qualification open to both advisers and farmers, Rob Simpson explained. “Initially we designed the qualification for advisers but we have a growing interest from farmers. So far, 1,024 people have studied the BETA course and of those 903 have passed the examination.”

VI chairman Barry Dent welcomed the findings of the CSL report. He said: “It confirms the real progress made by farmers, growers and advisers to adopt new and better practices to reduce still further the environmental impact of pesticides.

“I am sure the report will make a valuable contribution in the development of the VI and the VI Steering Group and its sub-group will consider the report in full at future meetings.”

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