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Heavy pesticide use in Scotland revealed

The three reports about pesticide use are: Arable Crops and Potato Stores 2014, Soft Fruit Crops 2014 and Rodenticides on Arable Farms 2014, all produced by the Scottish government’s chief statistician.

The reports reveal that 98 percent of arable crops in Scotland are treated with pesticides. These are primarily types of herbicides and fungicides. With fruit crops, the figure is at 94 percent.

In terms of farms, 87 percent of the farms in Scotland use pesticides, with the remainder electing not to use chemicals.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust believes the use of pesticides has a deleterious effect on Scotland’s wildlife and ecosystem health and that the level of pesticides should be reduced. The charitable body is also concerned that another class of pesticides — insectides — will be expanded as it has been in England.

In England, several areas of the country are able to use neonicotinoid pesticides, despite this class of chemicals being banned in most of Europe due to the risk of killing bees.

In related food and agriculture news, the Scottish government has announced that avoidable food waste across Scotland has reduced by almost 8 percent since 2009. This is in keeping with pre-set targets.

With this, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment Richard Lochhead said to the Scottish Parliament: “Household food waste in Scotland has decreased by an estimated 37,000 tonnes per year – 5.7 per cent overall – since 2009, with a reduction of 7.7 per cent overall , or 30,000 tonnes per year, in avoidable food waste. This reduction has saved households across Scotland a staggering £92 million a year.”

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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