Groundbreaking work at a West Midlands University has been highlighted in the European Parliament for cutting use of pesticides and reducing farming's environmental impact.

Anthea McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, praised the achievements of Harper Adams University in Shropshire and in particular its Centre for Integrated Pest Management.

During a Brussels debate in the Parliament's Agriculture Committee, she said the centre addressed global issues in agriculture, forestry and horticultural crop production.

Miss McIntyre said: "They have undertaken active research in important areas such as pest monitoring, application technology, nematology (the study of worms), plant pathology and weed science.

“There are research projects looking at laser treatment for precisely targeting weeds in farm crops, and at forecasting attacks of pests based on environmental conditions in various crops.

"We mustn't forget that pesticides are a part of integrated pest management (IPM). With everyone’s desire to minimise the use of chemicals, it is very important to encourage the development of precision farming techniques.

"Using precision technologies to apply fertilisers and pesticides within agricultural systems we can reduce environmental impacts and make savings for farmers."

Miss McIntyre, Conservative agriculture spokesman in Brussels, has produced a series of reports promoting the harnessing of advancing technology to enhance yields and create environmental improvements in farming, forestry and horticulture.

She called for further promotion of Integrated Pest Management systems, such as crop rotation and conservation tillage, and alternative approaches with the use of agri-tech, and concluded "There is still a lot of untapped potential for farmers.”