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SECRETARY OF STATE FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS v GEORGINA DOWNS

Directive 91/414 required member states to establish that a pesticide had no harmful effect on human health by applying the uniform principles in Annex VI: if, applying those principles, authorisation of a pesticide might be granted, the authorisation would be in compliance with art.4.1 of the Directive. Where the government's approach to controlling the spraying of crops with pesticides had complied with the requirements of Annex VI, it had thereby complied with the Directive and there was no necessity for it to amend its policy in that respect.

14 July 2009

The appellant secretary of state appealed against a decision of the judge [ (2008) EWHC 2666 (Admin) ] granting the respondent (D) a declaration that the secretary of state's approach to controlling the spraying of crops with pesticides did not comply with Directive 91/414 and ordering him to reconsider and as necessary amend his policy in that respect. D lived in a house adjoining fields which had been sprayed regularly with pesticides. She claimed that exposure to the pesticides had caused her to suffer ill-health. The secretary of state commissioned a study by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP) to examine the scientific evidence on which government decisions on the risks to people from pesticide exposure had been based. The study concluded that there could be a link between the exposure of residents and bystanders to pesticides and chronic ill-health and recommended the introduction of no-spray buffer zones around agricultural land to protect rural residents f...

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