The decision to reauthorise the use of glyphosate for five years is welcome news and testament to the hard work of British farmers in lobbying MEPs over its safety and benefits, the NFU said today.
Guy Smith, NFU Vice President, said: “I would like to pay tribute to the farmers across the country who have lobbied their MEPs and invited them out on to farm to see first-hand the benefits glyphosate brings, and those who have made the case for glyphosate’s reauthorisation on social media. I am convinced their efforts have helped us reach this positive outcome.
“It is good news that farmers and growers will be able to continue using glyphosate for another five years. However, the fact remains that there is absolutely no regulatory reason why it should not have been reauthorised for 15 years, as was originally proposed.
“Today’s decision will be welcomed by farmers who have watched with growing concern as what should have been a straightforward decision has become increasingly political. The NFU has repeatedly said that decisions like this must be based on science and evidence. This clearly hasn’t happened in this case.
“Independent regulatory bodies around the world, including the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), have looked at all the scientific evidence and concluded glyphosate is safe to use. But their conclusions have been ignored and their credibility has been undermined.
“Glyphosate reduces the need to use other herbicides, it helps to protect soil and cut greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the need for ploughing, and it enables farmers in this country to grow crops that help produce safe, affordable, high quality British food.”
Crop Protection Association CEO Sarah Mukherjee said: “While we are pleased that the science has eventually prevailed, the politicisation of what should have been a standard re-approval process sets a worrying precedent for the future of crop protection and sustainable farming in Europe.
“The loss of glyphosate would have caused significant damage to the economy, the environment and the agricultural sector.
“British farmers will be relieved that this vital tool will continue to be available to them, and they will be able to continue to do what they do best, providing us with safe, healthy, affordable food.”
British farmer Andrew Ward of Royward Farms, Lincoln, said: “While I am relieved to hear that I can continue to use glyphosate, it is disheartening to learn that this could just be for the short-term.
“It is almost impossible to plan for the future when a tool that is vital to the viability of my farm could be taken away in just a few short years.”