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aphid.jpgWelcome to the website for the RELU (Rural Economy and Land Use) funded research project: 'Biological Alternatives to Chemical Pesticides in the Food Chain: An Assessment of Sustainability', being undertaken by the Department of Politics and International Studies in conjunction with Warwick HRI.

Consumers, retailers and environmentalists would like to see less use of chemical pesticides in food production. A sustainable solution is to be found in the greater use of bio-insecticides such as naturally occurring fungi that attack insects. Such approaches have not been used as much as one might expect in the UK and one reason is that the regulatory system, analysed within a broader model of the regulatory state, is designed for chemical insecticides.

Key Objectives

  • The project will assess whether bio-insecticides persist in the environment when released on a large scale, using the control of aphids in lettuce as a model system.
  • The research will examine whether the uptake of bio-pesticides is constrained by the composition of decision-making networks.
  • Using semi-structured interviews with decision-makers and stakeholders, the operation of the existing regulatory system will be examined to assess whether changes in regulatory design might facilitate the wider use of bio-pesticides.
  • A comparison will be made between the retailer led system of governance in Britain and the greater reliance on legislation in the Danish model.
  • The project will assess the benefits and costs of the contribution of bio-pesticides to sustainability.

Final workshop

Our final workshop, 'Biopesticides: The Regulatory Challenge', took place at Warwick HRI on 31st October 2007. Speakers included Dave Chandler and Wyn Grant of the University of Warwick, Don Edgecomb of Agraquest, Peter C Leendertse of CLM Netherlands, and Richard Davis of PSD. Please see events and papers and presentations for more information.