The Voluntary Initiative (VI) is calling on farmers and growers to use the Environment Agency’s What’s in Your Backyard website (www.wiyby.co.uk) to help assess the risk of water pollution from agrochemicals and manage key products appropriately.
‘Farmers, agronomists and operators need to know where their land drains to, if they want to continue to use pesticides to control weeds and slugs,’ said the VI in a statement. Although primarily targeted at winter cereals and oilseed rape, the use of metaldehyde for slug control has implications for vegetable growers.
“Not every field drains to a drinking water source but pesticide use in those that do really matters,” explained the VI’s Patrick Goldsworthy. “The first step for farmers and growers is to find out whether any of the land they manage is in a Drinking Water Safeguard Zone and if there are any pesticide issues in that Safeguard Zone. [If] there are concerns about pesticide issues then they should discuss with their agronomist what they can do to help reduce the risk of any pesticides they use reaching water, be that surface or ground water.”
For more information visit www.voluntaryinitiative.org.uk.