Lockhart writesto Eustice about ‘authority vacuum’

Upper Bann DUP has written to DEFRA Secretary of State George Eustice to call for urgent action to be taken to address the ‘authority vacuum’ in relation to approval of plant protection products.

In her letter to Mr Eustice, Carla Lockhart said: “Prior to the UKs exit from the European Union, plant protection products were controlled by the Health and Safety Executive, Chemical Regulation Division (CRD).

“To bring a new product to market, a dossier was provided to CRD who would then approve it/or reject it, but if approved given a MAPP number.

“Since Brexit however, CRD approvals do not apply to Northern Ireland. This poses a real problem for plant protection products availability in Northern Ireland – not just for new products, but also for existing products that must be reregistered every ten years.

“For farmers in Northern Ireland the reality of this is detrimental to their crops and livelihoods, with examples of products being withheld from use on local farms.”

She added: “The government created this problem, and the government must resolve it. It is yet another example of how the Protocol is placing Northern Ireland at a disadvantage. Indeed, even in terms of use of plant protection products, the likelihood is that divergence in the rules around usage will cause further problems for the local farming industry.”

She concluded by saying: “This is unacceptable and solutions must be found soon.”