Pesticide in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Downs v Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
    • Queen's Bench Division (Administrative Court)
    • 14 Nov 2008

    There was included a submission that the failure meant that there was a breach of Article 8 of the ECHR in that the interference with the claimant's private life was disproportionate and not justified by Article 8(2).

    But there is much more positive evidence that local effects are attributable to exposure. The DVD makes it clear that those effects do in many cases amount to more than merely transient and trifling harm. I appreciate that the DVDs have been presented to and considered by the ACP and they have not changed their approach.

    As I have said, the word serious should not have been used. It suggests an erroneous approach. However although it should be removed from any guidance, if the approach is and has always been as Professor Coggon suggested in the article quoted in Paragraph 48, it may not in itself have resulted in an erroneous decision. However, since the defendant accepts that harm will be material if more than merely trifling and transient, he must make his decisions on that basis.

    I have no doubt for the reasons I have given that the manner in which controls on crop spraying have been applied do not comply with the obligations imposed by the Directive. It is clear and the contrary has not been suggested that the model is by no means perfect. It cannot measure local effects and is, as Mr Jay accepted, not able adequately to assess possible long term effects on health. In those circumstances, the Article 8 ground is not needed.

    It is said on the defendant's behalf that the U.K.'s approach is stricter than that of many other Member States. That may be so but is not of particular materiality. I have had to consider what the Directive requires. I have been persuaded that there are defects in the defendant's approach which contravene the requirement of the Directive. If that means that other Member States are not complying, that is a matter for them, their citizens and perhaps the Commission.

    The result of this judgment is that the defendant must think again and reconsider what needs to be done. It is not for me to specify any particular action he needs to take. He must take steps to produce an adequate assessment of the risks to residents. Equally, I think there is a very strong case for a buffer zone, such as incidentally already exists to avoid spraying too close to watercourses in order to minimise the risk of pesticides entering groundwater.

  • Downs v Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
    • Court of Appeal
    • 07 Jul 2009,07 Jul 2009

    The appellant renews his application for a stay. The approach to be adopted in respect of applications for a stay is clearly set out in the notes to CPR 52.7. A stay is the exception rather than the rule, solid grounds have to be put forward by the party seeking a stay, and, if such grounds are established, then the court will undertake a balancing exercise weighing the risks of injustice to each side if a stay is or is not granted.

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