June 29, 2016

29/06/2016: Relief as glyphosate stays on the shelf

Image: Chafer Machinery
A last-minute move by the EU Commission to ensure farmers can continue using the widely-employed weedkiller glyphosate has been welcomed.
Conservative MEPs Anthea McIntyre (West Midlands) and Julie Girling (South West and Gibraltar) said the move to prevent the herbicide being removed from shelves from one day to the next was "sensible and responsible".
They were commenting after the Commission granted glyphosate a licence for a further 18 months - just hours before its EU approval expired. Attempts to grant glyphosate a longer approval of several years from June 30 hit deadlock after the French Government lodged objections and other nations abstained.
Despite advice from the EU's own scientific experts that the weedkiller did not present any significant risk, some EU politicians mounted an organised opposition to renewed approval on the basis of an historic World Health Organisation report suggesting a possible link to cancer. 
The Commission’s proposed extension will allow for further complementary studies to be carried out by the EU’s other scientific body - the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) - to determine whether glyphosate requires reclassification from a safety perspective.
Miss McIntyre and Mrs Girling today issued a joint statement saying:  "Farmers will be hugely relieved that this important tool for protecting their crops is still available to them.
"We maintain that the EU should listen to the science and not be swayed by scaremongering. We hope that these further studies confirm that glyphosate is safe for use, so we can put this discussion to rest and farmers can get on with their work.
"A ban on glyphosate could have a huge impact on farming in the UK and across Europe, so any such decision should only be taken if there is compelling scientific evidence that such drastic action is absolutely necessary.
"While everyone's attention was on the referendum result, the clock was still ticking on glyphosate - so this stay of execution is sensible and responsible. It will allow us time to examine and further test the scientific evidence to come up with a sound decision further down the line."
Visit the EU Commission site HERE

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