Wildlife at Risk over Rise in Soft Fruit Pesticides
Byline: Tim Bugler
A HUGE increase in the use of pesticides on Scotland's soft fruit farms could damage health and wildlife, campaigners warned yesterday. The latest survey for the Scottish Government revealed that the amount of pesticides and fungicides applied per hectare by soft fruit growers, predominantly in Angus, leapt by 38 per cent between 2010 and 2012.
There was also a 36 per cent jump in the use of chlorpyrifos - an organophosphate insecticide which, it is claimed, can damage the nervous system and kill wildlife.
Most of the 38 per cent increase recorded by the survey was in fungicides to stop rot in wet weather. Last night the figures were described as 'alarming' by the Scottish Wildlife Trust while the Soil Association warned of possible health risks. The pesticides industry, however, accused them of trying to 'scare' people.
More than 1,500 hectares (3,700 acres) were planted with strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, and other soft fruits in Scotland in 2012, more than four-fifths in Angus.
As much as 96 per cent of the crop was treated with at least one pesticide, in the form of fungicides, insecticides, herbicides and biological control agents. The survey, by Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture in Edinburgh, concluded that pesticides use rose from 17.5 to 19.6 tons between 2010 and 2012. …