Pesticides are inherently dangerous and it is in everyone's interest to minimise the risk they pose to people and the environment. This is currently achieved in a number of ways :
- the approvals process under which statutory conditions of use are set such as the setting of maximum dosage rates and number of applications
- the setting of Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) for pesticide residues in food;
- surveillance monitoring carried out by the Pesticide Residues Committee which provides a check that no unexpected residues are occurring and that pesticides are being applied correctly;
- the statutory Code of Practice for Using Plant Protection Products provides extensive guidance on safe pesticide use for farmers and growers and makes clear that pesticides should only be used when necessary
- Defra sponsored Research and Development into improved methods of forecasting pests and diseases, to achieve a more effective application of pesticides and to underpin integrated pest management programmes. Research includes "Reducing Agrochemical Use on the Arable Farm: the TALISMAN and SCARAB Projects".
- The Pesticides Forum which brings together a wide range of agricultural, environmental and other interests to provide advice to Government and industry about promoting and encouraging responsible pesticide use.