An initial round of votes by the Committee that advises the EU Commission on licensing crop protection products has failed to support a proposal to renew glyphosate’s license for a further 10 years.
The proposal by the Commission, which was backed by the EU’s expert agencies, ended in deadlock as 16 countries including the UK, voted in favour of the renewal. However, the votes fall short of the threshold needed to reach a qualified majority, with two countries Germany and Portugal abstaining from the vote.
Diplomats said that the Commission is now going to consult member states to see if reducing the period of renewal could bring countries on board to support the relicensing of the widely used herbicide.
CLA Deputy President Tim Breitmeyer said: “We are grateful that the UK government has stood firm behind the scientific evidence and voted for the relicensing of glyphosate. It is vital to remember that the EU’s own expert agencies have concluded that glyphosate is safe. However, too many other EU countries have caved in to a concerted highly politicised scaremongering campaign.
“This decision not to allow the relicense is a disaster for agriculture and the environment. It will dramatically impact the ability of farmers to keep at bay the spread of grassweed infestation and will ultimately harm the environment. It will force farmers to use a shrinking portfolio of narrow spectrum chemicals, encourage resistance in the seed bank and steer farmers away from conservation tillage.
“We will urge the EU Commission to look at whatever can now be done to mitigate this disastrous and unnecessary situation.”
The vote follows one of the EU Parliament in Strasbourg earlier this week, where MEPs called for an end to use glyphosate by 2020. The CLA has worked with farming representatives from across the UK and the EU to call on all parts of the EU to follow the evidence and common sense.