New EU Pesticide Authorisation Regulation could prevent use of 20% of crop protection products

The EU Council of Ministers has formally adopted its new Pesticide Authorisation Regulation -- changing the approval process for pesticides from the current approach, which is based on assessment of risk, to the use of hazard-based "cut-off" criteria.

Chairman of the Crop Protection Association (CPA) chief executive Dominic Dyer — who led the lobbying against the controversial new legislation — warns the new rules could spell disaster for horticulture and agriculture as up to 20 per cent of currently approved crop protection products could be lost.

He also points out that the new regulation was ironically passed just as UN leaders called for a 70 per cent increase in agricultural productivity by 2050 to cope with the world's growing population.

Dyer said:  "These rules are so at odds with the urgent demands placed on modern, productive agriculture that they call into question the entire EU policy-making process, and its ability to reach joined up decisions."

"With no demonstrable benefit to human health or the environment, it is scandalous that this legislation has been passed at a time of mounting concern over food security.

"But this will not be the last time an agricultural technology faces new legislative proposals, and there are clear lessons to be learned for the future."

"We must not lose sight of how far the UK food industry, working together, has moved the debate.  Just over a year ago, UK regulators were forecasting the potential loss of up to 85 per cent of products.  Over a relatively short period, this issue has galvanised the entire food chain, from primary producers to food retailers, to speak with a united voice in support of modern, science-based agriculture and horticulture.

"Together we secured the support of the UK Government, and a strong coalition of MEPs, in opposing the new rules. Our efforts were not in vain and the positive momentum must not be lost.  We must continue to press the EU to strengthen the independent scientific advice it receives, to demonstrate the benefits of technological innovation in food production, and to highlight the vital role of modern, science-based agriculture in responding to the urgent challenges of food security, climate change and declining natural resources." 

For more on Horticulture Week's Save Our Science campaign, which is calling on the Government to match-fund growers' levy contributions to help secure the future of horticultural R&D, visit the Big Issue section of the website.


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