Contractors urged to lobby over pesticides

Amenity Forum chairman Jon Allbutt has said contractors and turf professionals must make their voices heard with MEPs or they will lose essential products needed to combat pests and diseases.

Allbutt said the industry must act now ahead of the next plenary sessions of the EU Parliament in September and October.

He said: "I'm anxious that amenity gets a fair share of the pesticides market. Last year we man- aged to exert a lot of influence on MEPs to block the European Environment Committee proposal.

Allbutt said there are two views now: "The Pesticides Safety Directorate (PSD) says: 'We are working hard to get a risk-based approach to retain a sense of reason we've had since 1986'. The opposite view is that the lunatics have taken over the asylum and we'll go the way of Denmark, which has no pesticides on its golf courses. I hear that greenkeepers there are spraying at night and driving over to the UK to buy pesticides and bring them back. How can we produce first-class courses if we can't use fungicides?

"We need to make sure organisations and businesses lobby MEPs in one last push.

By the end of 2010 or early 2011 individual member states will have to bring in legislation on the decision of the directorate. "That will mean goodnight to just about everything in amenity use we can think of - not just in sport, but schools and parks, too," said Allbutt.

He added: "People have their heads in the sand. They have to act on a local level. Everything they do matters. We'll produce the draft letter and you send it to your MEPs."

- The EU has responded to PSD concerns that 85 per cent of pesticides will be outlawed in a letter to the Home Grown Cereals Authority. It said: "The commission proposal will affect only a few substances, which are the most problematic ones for human health and the environment."


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