Defra Secretary of State confirms glyphosate ‘is staying’

Glyphosate being sprayed across a farm

Defra Secretary of State Thérèse Coffey has said farmers will continue to have access to glyphosate once the UK’s post-Brexit pesticides regulation regime is developed, describing the herbicide as “critical for regenerative farming”.

Speaking at a Westminster reception as part of the NFU’s Back British Farming Day, Dr Coffey added: “The science is clear. The farmers need it. It is critical to regenerative farming. It is staying.”

She said government policy on glyphosate would be “led by the science”, echoing a central pillar of the NFU’s campaigning on plant protection.

She added: “Since I’ve been in post, we have given an absolute commitment to continuing glyphosate. We’re not going to be put off course by lots of other campaigns.”

What is Glyphosate?

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the world’s most widely used weed killer. It is widely used in the UK and internationally in variety of different areas from farming, to sports grounds and public spaces, for more than 40 years.

Dr Coffey’s comments come after the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) found no critical areas of concern in its peer review of the risk assessment of the herbicide, published in July. That echoed the results of an 11,000-page investigation in 2021, conducted by scientific experts in four nations, appointed by the European Commission.

Glyphosate is currently authorised for use in the EU until 15 December 2023, following an extension to the renewal assessment process in 2022. In the UK, the current expiry date is December 2025, following a three-year extension as the UK’s post-Brexit pesticides regulatory regime is developed.

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