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Friday, 14 November 2008

As a result of Georgina Downs' campaign, people in the countryside at risk from crop sprays must be given better protection, the High Court has ruled.

Crop sprays a risk to health, rules High Court
article in the Telegraph


"the Government has been ordered to "rethink" its policies on pesticides so that human health is given more priority.

The ruling by Mr Justice Collins is a landmark victory for Georgina Downs who launched a one-woman campaign after her own health was damaged by crop spraying.

She argued that the Government had ignored evidence that agricultural chemicals damaged the health of people who - like herself - lived close to crop fields.

In his ruling the judge said Miss Downs had produced "strong" evidence to back her case and granted her application for a judicial review.

He said the Government had failed to meet its obligations under EU law to protect rural residents and communities from the possible harmful exposure to pesticides.

Miss Downs, whose home near Chichester, West Sussex, borders crop fields, launched her independent UK Pesticides Campaign in 2001.

Last month her campaigning against the unrestricted use of pesticides earned her a Woman of the Year award.

She had claimed that the Government based its decisions on an assumption that people suffered only occasional and short-term exposure.

Miss Downs said the Government had failed to address countryside residents such as herself, "who are repeatedly exposed to mixtures of pesticides and other chemicals throughout every year, and in many cases, like mine, for decades".

She told the court that she had collected evidence that agricultural chemicals caused a variety of health problems including cancer, Parkinson's disease, ME and asthma.

And she claimed that under current rules local people were not even entitled to a warning about what was being sprayed near their homes and gardens."

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