Defra has refused to be drawn on the possibility of lifting the EU’s chlorothalonil (CTL) ban after Brexit.
The Commission proposed the ban after a European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) report highlighted concerns about risks to fish and amphibians and potential contamination of groundwater.
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has also classified CTL as a ‘category one’ carcinogen.
It is believed the UK joined Hungary, Lithuania and Greece in voting to keep CTL available.
But asked by Farmers Guardian whether the Government would seek to overturn the ban after Brexit, a Defra spokesman said: “When we leave the EU, the list of pesticides approved for use in the UK will be carried over into UK law.”
This list of EU-approved pesticides will be kept in place whether the UK leaves with a withdrawal agreement or not.
Ministers are already coming under pressure to reverse the EU’s decision.
Colin Clark, Scottish Conservative MP for Gordon, contacted Defra immediately to warn the loss of CTL would have a serious impact on growers and the whisky industry.
“Having grown barley myself in the wet climate of Scotland, this product was a powerful tool in the arsenal to control fungal disease,” he said.
“This change undermines Scotland’s most iconic crop, malting barley for whisky manufacturing.
“It is a result of the EU reacting to lobby groups, ignoring sound science and 50 years of safe use.”
The Defra spokesman added: “We recognise the importance of effective pesticides to farms and are committed to making them available where regulators are satisfied and scientific evidence shows they do not pose unacceptable risks to human health and the environment.”
Any decision about the use of pesticides after Brexit will be based on advice from the independent Expert Committee on Pesticides.
A Syngenta spokesman said the company, which sells the chlorothalonil-based product Bravo, was ‘disappointed’ by the ban, which has not been accompanied by an impact assessment.
The spokesman also pointed out growers in the UK would be disproportionately affected because of the country’s agronomic conditions.