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Keywords:

  • risk indexes;
  • orchard;
  • EIQ;
  • environmental impact;
  • fruit;
  • neonicotinoids;
  • Directive 2009/128/EC

Abstract

Background

Attempts to mitigate pesticide hazard in horticulture present policy makers and industry with complex challenges at both the national and European scale. The impact of policy initiatives and industry practice on reducing hazard is contingent upon effective monitoring of a broad spectrum of non-target endpoints. This study used the environmental impact quotient to evaluate changes in orchard fruit pesticide hazard in Great Britain. The study period corresponded to the introduction of European Directive 91/414 in 1991 and extended to 2008, the last pesticide survey year prior to the implementation of the new European Directive 2009/128/EC and regulation (EC) No. 1107/2009.

Results

Overall, pesticide hazard declined for each of the measures reported, with the environmental impact per hectare per tonne of produce declining by −21%.

Conclusion

The UK orchard fruit industry appears to have improved efficiencies in pesticide use and is now harvesting more produce per hectare while simultaneously reducing the associated environmental impact of pesticides. The removal of toxic substances and their replacement with more benign products as a consequence of legislation appears to have played an important role in facilitating the reduction. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry