Ex-minister's fury as tough pesticide controls rejected

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Indy Politics

The former Labour minister Lord Melchett led furious protests last night to David Miliband, the Environment Secretary, over the Government's rejection of tougher controls on pesticides, which have been linked to Parkinson's disease.

Lord Melchett, policy director of the Soil Association, wrote to Mr Miliband to protest at the rejection of a range of safety measures, including buffer zones around sprayed fields, as recommended by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution.

He accused Mr Miliband of meeting the National Farmers' Union to discuss the "red tape" burdens in the commision's recommendations, but of failing to meet victims suffering from the effects of pesticides before rejecting the commission's key proposals.

His protest is backed by a coalition including Christopher Stopes, who until recently was a member of Mr Miliband's advisory committee on pesticides. Eight of the parties signed a letter to The Independent today, saying: "Until the expert, independent, scientific advice of the Royal Commission is acted on by the Government, we believe no one... should have any confidence in the official regulation of, and safety assessment of, pesticide use in the UK."

A study in New Scientist this week found that people who used pesticides were more likely to develop Parkinson's disease than non-users.