Britain Wants to Keep EU Pesticides Regulations Post-Brexit

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Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

Leave and Remain voters united in preference for strong pesticides regulations

No matter how they voted in the EU referendum, British voters support keeping the EU’s regulations on pesticides after Brexit. Our poll, carried out for SumOfUs and Pesticides Action Network UK, found that 63% of voters agree with the statement “EU regulations on chemicals and pesticides exist to protect people and the environment and should be incorporated into British law after Brexit”, while just 16% agree with the alternative, “After Brexit the UK government should relax EU regulations on chemicals and pesticides which have imposed significant financial burdens on British companies.” Remain voters supported the first statement 77% to 11%, while Leave voters supported it 57% to 23%. This is further evidence that despite the vote to leave the EU, British voters across the spectrum do not find the vision of a deregulated economy persuasive, even when it is sold as an economic benefit.

Meanwhile, both Leavers and Remainers also agree that “The use of pesticides in the UK should be reduced,” not “There is no need to reduce the use of pesticides in the UK” (by 75% to 12% among Remainers and 65% to 20% among Leavers). Strong majorities agree with banning pesticides harmful to human health, harmful to the environment and harmful to bees and other pollinators.

We also found strong backing for farmers seeking alternatives to today’s pesticides, with 78% agreeing that “The government should provide more support to British farmers working hard to reduce their pesticide use.”


GQR polled 1203 adults in Great Britain between 11 and 13 September 2017. The survey was fielded online and results were weighted to be nationally representative of the adult population by gender, age, region, social grade, education, ethnicity and past vote.

Data tables for the poll are available here, and slides illustrating the results are here.