Last week, members of the European Parliament’s Special Committee, set up to examine the EU’s pesticide authorisation procedure, voted to approve their report on the matter.
The dossier draws the overall conclusion that, while the EU’s pesticide regime is the most stringent in the world, there are areas where it could be improved.
The Committee specifically calls for more transparency over how risk assessments on the safety of pesticides are conducted alongside better communication from public bodies on the nature of risk and hazard.
The priority of regulating in line with the Precautionary Principle is underlined several times, though some text draws attention to the need for it to be applied proportionately.
More controversially, the Committee asks that the Commission’s independent Scientific Advice Mechanism should conduct a review of the studies used in the reauthorisation of the herbicide glyphosate last year.
Since the PEST Committee was set-up in February this year, the NFU has been working to make sure it’s MEPs are aware of farmers concerns and understand the importance of pesticides in underpinning food and plant production throughout Europe.
Dr Chris Hartfield, NFU Senior Regulatory Affairs Adviser, said: “Regardless of political persuasion, it is good that Committee members agree the EU’s pesticide regime is the most stringent in the world. However, there then appears to be a fundamental conflict between the extent to which the pesticides regulatory process is driven by science and evidence, and the extent to which it is influenced by populist concerns and subsequent politics.
"Ahead of last week’s vote on the draft report, the NFU went through all the amendments to provide MEPs with our thoughts about the proposals. Our key points have been to keep the process robustly science and evidence-based, as independent of politics as possible, and to ensure future action is proportionate.”
The report now needs to be endorsed by all MEPs in the Parliament, with vote on its approval expected in mid-January.