Lobbying intensifies as MEPs prepare to take part in vote on glyphosate

NFU President Meurig Raymond has travelled to Strasbourg to discuss the importance of glyphosate re-authorisation with MEPs ahead of the vote. Raymond will "take the concerns of thousands of NFU members direct to UK MEPs from all different political parties as well as meeting with Irish, Italian and German MEPs to urge them to vote against the resolution", an NFU statement said.

Meanwhile some 13 organisations that support a ban on glyphosate including War on Want, Pesticides Action Network and the Soil Association have sent a joint letter to  all MEPs calling for them to vote on 13 April to support the Environment Committee's recommendation to reject its renewal.

The vote will reveal the EU position but will not have a direct effect on EC voting on 18-19 May.

The full EU Parliament will vote on the recommendation of the Environment Committee (who called for the renewal to be rejected, at least until there had been an independent review of the EFSA assessment) at the April 11-14 plenary session in Strasbourg.

The Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (PAFF) will vote to adopt the Commission proposal (that glyphosate be relicensed) by qualified majority at their May 18-19 meeting.

If there is no qualified majority it is then up to the European Commission to decide.

Raymond said: "This is a massive issue for all our members which is why we have been contacting MEPs in huge numbers – the possibility of not re-authorising glyphosate presents all farmers with huge problems.  

"Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in Europe - not just by farmers, but by gardeners, local authorities and public utilities alike. It allows UK farmers to control weeds in a way that benefits the environment – protecting soil structure and reducing greenhouse gases. 

"I am frustrated with the way the European Parliament is handling this issue. This is not about political point scoring; we need to put science ahead of politics. 

"We cannot make progress if policy in Europe is determined in this political fashion.  We must be led by science."

New poll results from YouGov reportedly show two-thirds of Europeans would support a ban on glyphosate, including some 56 per cent of British residents. 

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