Benn: UK will not ratify EU pesticide rules

Defra secretary of state Hilary Benn has revealed the UK will be voting not to ratify the new EU pesticides legislation when it comes before the Agriculture Council for final agreement.

Benn met leading industry figures including Crop Protection Association chief executive Dominic Dyer and NFU president Peter Kendall last week to discuss the impact of the new EU pesticide rules.

The Sustainable Use Directive and Placing of Plant Protection Products on the Market regulation were approved by MEPs in Strasbourg last week (13 January).

Dyer said the meeting with Benn had been useful: "We explained how damaging the legislation would be and the complexity of product development.

"Hilary Benn was very sympathetic to our concerns and said he was very unhappy with the lack of impact assessment."

The delegation - which also included representatives from the Agricultural Industries Confederation, British Crop Production Council, British Retail Consortium, Food & Drink Federation and the Fresh Produce Consortium - met with Benn on 15 January to raise concerns that the new EU rules would result in falling crop yields, increasing pest resistance problems and rising food prices, and could make the growing of some key crops in the UK no longer economically viable.

Dyer added: "The issue now is whether we can get the Czech presidency to pick up on the legislation.

"The hope would be that the Czech presidency would seek a Council declaration calling for an impact assessment.

"The crucial point is whether they see that there is more that needs to be done."


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