Ashworth votes for reauthorisation of glyphosate

The European Parliament has voted to support the re-approval of glyphosate, the world’s most widely used weed killer and a key tool for European farmers.

Parliamentarians in Strasbourg rejected a motion to support a ban on glyphosate, however the text adopted calls for a seven year authorisation as opposed to the 15 years being proposed by the European Commission. The text contains a number of references to glyphosate being a suspected endocrine disrupter, without scientific basis. It also includes prescriptive measures on the use and application of glyphosate, such as banning non-professional use.

The EU’s independent advisory body the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has recently concluded that glyphosate poses no unacceptable risk to human health when used appropriately. In coming to that conclusion EFSA reviewed findings by the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which has expressed concern about the substance.

The existing approval for glyphosate expires at the end of June, the Commission’s Standing Committee on Phytopharmaceuticals (SCoPAFF) will meet in the coming weeks to agree the conditions of a re-authorisation

Richard Ashworth, Conservative MEP for South East England, welcomed the re-authorisation, but also issued caution over the adopted text stating: “I am glad that my colleagues in the European Parliament have seen common sense and voted with me to support the reauthorisation of glyphosate. It is essential that farmers in the South East have access to all the tools available and that European policy is based on proven science.”

“However the shortening of the extension sets a worrying precedent for questioning the work of EFSA. I am concerned with the report’s references to glyphosate as being a suspected endocrine disrupter as there is no scientific basis for these assertions. Furthermore prescriptive measures on the use and application of glyphosate, such as banning non-professional use are not the right approach. Whilst the outcome is not perfect, overall it is a good result for British farming.”

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