0 Amenity sector urged to lobby MEPs as regulations deliver double blow

The amenity sector is being dealt a double blow through the proposals set out in the EU Thematic Strategy for Pesticides.

The Plant Protection Products Regulations will hit sports turf, as well as chemicals available for controlling weeds on hard surfaces. Weed control on railways and highways will also be affected.

In addition, the proposed Sustainable Use Directive also sets out strict controls for the use of chemicals in "sensitive areas" such as near schools, hospitals, playgrounds, parks and sports grounds.

Amenity Forum chairman Jon Allbutt urged parks managers, groundsmen, contractors and the public to continue lobbying.

"It is not too late," he said. "The legislation is at the front of people's minds and they must be given the facts."

Financial constraints will severely affect ability to control pests and diseases, added Allbutt.

"MEPs must understand the harsh economic realities of a world without the ability to use pesticides," he said.

Meanwhile, good news for the amenity sector is that a proposed amendment calling for a ban in "sensitive areas" was rejected by the European Parliament's Environment Committee on 5 November.

The draft directive now sets out either prohibition or restriction in those areas. Residential areas were excluded from the wording.

Cambridgeshire-based Headland Amenity operations director Mark De Ath said he believed the UK already met the controls under its own legislation.

"It will mean, I suspect, a further tightening up of methods and procedures already practised," he added.

"Trialogue discussions" will now take place behind the scenes between the council - made up of member states' ministers - the European Parliament and the European Commission to come to agreement over the final text that all MEPs will vote on, said Pesticides Safety Directorate policy adviser Grant Stark.

Crop Protection Association amenity committee chairman Mark Phillips said that if MEPs "rubber-stamp everything" it would make things "very difficult" for professionals in the sector.

He added that the upcoming Water Framework Directive could also toll the death knell for glyphosate: "The few products we do have will be under the spotlight."

Source:- Horticulture Week

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