Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Lord Lilley:

    My Lords, I will be brief, because much of what needs to be said has already been said. I sympathise with the intent of Amendment 221 but, like my noble friend Lady McIntosh, I would prefer something less prescriptive.

    I will focus briefly on Amendment 226 and (1)(b) of the proposed new clause, to promote the conduct of

    “research into alternative methods of pest control and to promote their take-up”.

    That must be the best long-term solution, that we simply use less of these poisonous substances. Sadly, Amendment 235 is not being moved today; it would have encouraged, or at least made easier, the development of genetically edited plants and so on which would be more resistant to pesticides. I used to represent Rothamsted —it develops all sorts of plants, some by genetic modification and some by traditional methods.

    If we can develop plants which themselves repel insects, the need for insecticides will be reduced. I very much hope that we do not actually incorporate it in law but that the Government will take the message from this debate that the only long-term solution is to find ways which do not rely on pesticides to reduce the impact of malevolent insects on our crops—the same goes for weeds, as well.

    That is all that needs to be said on this occasion.