Gordon Brown under pressure to back EU pesticide impact assessment

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Gordon Brown under pressure to back EU pesticide impact assessment

Government MPs and Lords are wading into the debate on the EU pesticide proposals and are putting pressure on the prime minister to back a Europe-wide impact assessment.

Chairman of the All-Party Science & Technology in Agriculture Group, David Kidney MP, is asking Gordon Brown to call for the establishment of a Council Expert Group, to undertake an EU-wide impact assessment on the legislation currently going through the European Parliament.

Crop Protection Association chief executive, Dominic Dyer, who attended the meeting last week, said that members of both the House of Commons and the Lords wanted to know why sound science has not informed the European Commission and Parliament proposals, given that food security, environment and public health may all be at stake.

Dyer said members raised concerns that food would be imported from non-EU countries where chemicals, which would be banned within the EU, would have been used.

Dyer said that there was still time to build in safeguard clauses into the legislation. "It isn't over till it's over. The UK MEPs have got the message and putting pressure on the prime minister will be valuable for when the council consider the proposals first put forward by the European Commission."

"The UK government is already in a strong position to push for a safeguard clause in the final Regulation text, which would call on the European Council to work with the Commission to carry out an EU-wide impact assessment during the 18-month window between the Regulation being signed off and it coming into law," Dyer continued.

"Finally, we would need a clause saying that if the assessment concluded that the hazard cut-off criteria would have a negative impact on food supply that outweighed any benefits to public and environmental health, then the Council would be able to remove those criteria," he added.

Pesticides Action Network and some MPs and Lords present at the meeting argued that if the EU proposals went through they would bring environmental benefits.

A number of peers will debate the issue in the House of Lords on 11 November.

Source Horticulture Week

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