Glyphosate: European Parliament votes for seven year approval

13-Apr-2016 @ 16:00

No items found. No items found. No items found.

The European Parliament has voted to support extending approval for glyphosate, the world's most widely used weed killer.

However, it is calling for a seven year authorisation as opposed to the 15 years being proposed by the European Commission, which has the final say.

Conservative MEPs welcomed the rejection of a call for the Parliament to support a ban on glyphosate, but worry that the shorter extension could set a precedent by questioning the advice of the EU's independent advisory body the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which concluded glyphosate poses no unacceptable risk to human health when used appropriately.

In coming to that conclusion EFSA reviewed findings by the World Health Organisation's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which expressed concern about the substance.

Conservative Environment Co-ordinator Julie Girling MEP said: "EFSA has the role of providing scientific evidence for the regulation of agricultural technologies and to question its advice on an issue so central to the UK and European agriculture sector sets a worrying precedent.

"The precautionary principle in EU law is to take care of cases where there is not any scientific advice. There is a plethora of scientific advice here. We have to choose between our own EFSA advice and IARC, and I see no reason to move away from EFSA.

"We believe the focus should instead be on risks posed by co-formulants and Conservative MEPs will push the Commission to come forward with a separate act this summer listing substances to be excluded from use in products containing glyphosate."

A recent report by ADAS, the UK's largest agricultural consultancy, estimated a total ban on glyphosate would reduce UK production of winter wheat and winter barley by 12% and oilseed rape by 10%, costing the industry €633m a year.

The RSPB cites glyphosate as key to controlling bracken and rushes, while the chemical is widely used to control weeds on airport runways and railway lines.

« Back