An EU Appeals Committee voted on the future of chlorpropham – also known as CIPC – in April, but was unable to reach a decision, the NFU understands.
The vote fell short of a qualified majority in favour of the draft regulation for the non-renewal of chlorpropham that was tabled by the European Commission.
A previous vote on the draft regulation at an EU Standing Committee in February also failed to reach a qualified majority.
The Commission now has the power to proceed with the non-renewal, which it had proposed in the first place, and it is highly likely to do so.
The Commission should publish its decision on whether to proceed within the next two months along with an indication of the dates of which any ban would come into force.
The NFU has previously highlighted the importance of chlorpropham to UK growers, the likely impacts of losing the active and the organisation’s ongoing efforts to retain it.
Dr Chris Hartfield, NFU Senior Regulatory Affairs Adviser, said: “The European Commission’s proposed non-renewal of chlorpropham’s approval is based solely on a risk assessment of its potato use.
"This is hugely frustrating for those growers of horticultural crops for whom it’s an important herbicide. Despite the NFU raising their concerns with Commission officials, we feel the interests of these growers haven’t been taken into account.
"We are also frustrated by the consumer risk assessment for chlorpropham, which basically fails chlorothalonil on the assumption that potatoes are eaten unwashed and unpeeled. It just emphasises the disconnect between EU pesticide regulations and the productive and competitive EU food and plant production it is supposed to support.”
The path of chlorpropham through the regulatory system is similar to that taken by diquat, thiram and pymetrozine last year, which were all banned following successive ‘no opinion’ votes at Standing Committees and an Appeal Committee.
Dr Chris Hartfield said: “As Standing Committee ‘technical decisions’ by many Member States have become increasingly politicised, the decisions taken by the more political Appeal Committee often follow the same pattern.
"As a result, ‘no opinion’ positions in Standing Committee are often followed by the same in the Appeal Committee. At the same time, the number of ‘no opinion’ positions at Standing Committee has increased, and so have the number of proposals taken to Appeal Committee.
“However, there’s a critical difference between committees in the consequences of a ‘no opinion’ position. In the Standing Committee it effectively means the proposal is rejected by that commitee. But in the Appeal Committee a ‘no opinion’ position means the Commission is able to adopt the proposal under its own authority. Proposals can only be rejected at an Appeal Committee by a qualified majority vote against.
“It has to be said, the Commission finds this situation frustrating, as it becomes the ‘bad guy’ making the decisions as Member States seem to become increasingly unable to make decisions themselves.
"As a result, the Commission is trying to tighten the process to force Member States to be more decisive. All that said, it doesn’t stop the Commission from continuing to push through bans on the back of no opinion proposals at Appeal Committee.”
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