0 NFU issues 'call to arms' on EU pesticide legislation

THE NFU is urging farmers to make their views known to the European Commission about proposals that could remove key pesticides from the market.

The Commission is currently consulting on the definition of 'Endocrine Disruptors' a group of chemicals that could be removed under changes to EU pesticides legislation.

In a recent report, commissioned by the UK farming and agro-chemical industry, farm business consultants Andersons concluded the potential loss of pesticides from this and other EU legislation could have a devastating impact on the UK farming industry.

Impacting heavily, for example, on farmers' ability to control grass weeds in the key combinable crops it concluded the loss of threatened active substances could hit yields by 4 to 50 per cent, depending on the crop. It could cost UK agriculture £1.6bn a year, the report concludes.

For the first time the EU Commission will undertake an impact assessment for the introduction of new criteria, including the Endocrine Disruption definition, likely to remove a large number of products from the market.

NFU vice president Guy Smith said this impact assessment would be developed after consultation with farmers.

"That is a real win in itself for us all, but can only be sustained if followed through with a significant range and number of responses from farmers and growers (as well as agronomists and contractors)," he said.

The NFU has contacted members urging them to respond to the consultation and has drawn up guidance for them to follow on its website (the members only section).

"This is a call to arms. This consultation is a real opportunity for faming to be heard and individual responses are critical, each counts," Mr Smith said.

For the full Arable Farming article click here.

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