Neonicotinoid pesticides use across Scotland: EIR release

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

Information requested

The use of neonicotinoid pesticides across Scotland.

As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.


The Scottish Government is required by legislation to carry out post-approval surveillance of pesticide use. Information on the use of pesticides is collected and published annually by the Pesticide Survey Unit at SASA. Surveyors from SASA interview a representative sample of Scottish farmers and horticulturists about their use of agrochemicals and from this sample an overall estimate of use in Scotland is obtained. All the main agricultural and horticultural crops are included. Pesticide use in Forestry is not collected.

Most of the information you have requested is available from Pesticide Usage Survey Reports | SASA (Science & Advice for Scottish Agriculture). Under regulation 6(1)(b) of the EIRs, we do not have to give you information which is already publicly available and easily accessible to you in another form or format. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

Pesticide use on arable crops and soft fruit crops were surveyed in 2020. Pesticide use on outdoor vegetable crops and grass and fodder crops were surveyed in 2021. No neonicotinoids were recorded in the Grassland and Fodder 2021 survey. The estimated neonicotinoid usage on crops surveyed in 2020 and 2021 are summarised in the attached excel sheet. Links to the published reports are included. Data for pesticide usage on arable crops and soft fruit crops in 2022 are currently being collated. This data will be published in October 2022.

The only neonicotinoid currently approved for use in GB is acetamiprid. Pesticide use in the UK is highly regulated. Only authorised products can be marketed in this country, and products are only authorised if it can be demonstrated that they do not harm human health or have unacceptable effects on the environment. Anyone who purchases or applies Professional Plant Protection Products (pesticides) must be fully trained.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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