Agri MEPs vote against pesticide ban on EFA's


Sarah Collins

Environmental groups have hit out at attempts to allow pesticide use on land set aside for nature conservation under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

The Commission had proposed to ban the use of pesticides on so-called “ecological focus areas”, parcels of land for which farmers receive EU subsidies.

But agriculture MEPs voted against the ban last week, a move previously supported by Ireland and 17 other EU member states.

The decision will be put to all MEPs in a vote next week.

The news came the same week MEPs from Parliament’s Green group filed a case with the EU’s top court demanding access to studies used to assess the safety of the controversial herbicide, glyphosate.

The weedkiller, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s RoundUp, caused a rift in the scientific community when a World Health Organisation body found it to be “probably” carcinogenic in 2015.

The EU’s food safety and chemicals agencies say it is not likely to cause cancer.

Meanwhile, new EU fertiliser rules are a step closer to being agreed, though farmers and MEPs are still concerned over what they see as stringent cadmium limits.

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The rules, proposed by the European Commission last March, aim to boost the production of organic fertilisers and lower cadmium levels in phosphate fertilisers to 20mg/kg after 12 years.

But farmers’ lobby Copa-Cogeca has called for a maximum limit of 60mg, to be introduced over 15 years.

The issue is tied up in geopolitics, with Russia the only country where cadmium levels are low enough to comply with the new rules.

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