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BCPC Conference (June 08) on EU Regulation

based on
PSD 'Impacts' Report


BCPC Monthly News

Jan 09

Votes in the European Parliament on 13 January on the two pieces of EU legislation will make significant changes to the future authorisation (registration) and use of pesticides. The authorisation Regulation in particular will have consequences that will reach far beyond the EU. The restrictions on pesticide use that will be introduced by this new legislation will almost certainly affect food imports from non-EU countries.

The Adopted Texts of the legislation passed by the European Parliament can be viewed on-line here:

and are available in a Word document (1 MB) that can be downloaded here:

"Framework for Community action to achieve a sustainable use of pesticides" starts on page 43.

"Placing of plant protection products on the market" starts on page 70.

These texts will go to the Council of Ministers where their adoption will be a formality, and the legislation will enter into force later this year. The Commission will then begin the process of working out how this legislation is to be implemented. That is likely to involve a great deal of negotiation, especially on the "Authorisation Regulation" which will replace Directive 91/414/EEC. Some will seek to make the outcome as restrictive as possible, implementing the hazard-based approach to pesticide assessment. Others will seek to make minimise the effects through the promotion of a risk-based approach to pesticide assessment wherever possible. Particular attention will be focussed on determining the "cut-off criteria" for those pesticides considered to be "endocrine disruptors". The resultant restrictions will also apply to the use of pesticides on crops grown in non-EU countries for export to the EU, though it is far from clear how this will be enforced as some of the pesticides likely to be affected leave no detectable residues in the produce.

BCPC has been, and remains, opposed to this Authorisation Regulation as presently drafted because it promotes a hazard-based approach to pesticide assessment rather than the current risk-based approach. To adopt a hazard-based approach to authorisation, even in part, is unscientific and illogical, and sets a very dangerous precedent for regulatory legislation in other spheres where there are known hazards and assessable risks. It will also create some anomalies: MRLs for pesticides will still be determined on the basis of risk; azole fungicides used in human medicine will be assessed on the basis of risk while closely related azole fungicides used on crops will be assessed by hazard. It is no exaggeration to say to say that if the criteria in this draft Regulation were applied to coffee, the drinking of coffee would be banned throughout the European Union.

BCPC have also expressed concern that no proper Impact Assessment has been made of the likely consequences of the adoption of the proposals in the present draft Authorisation Regulation - on health, on the environment, or on crop and food production. Some Impact Assessments have been made for some crops in some countries, but no-one has any idea what the overall effect will be on crop production in the EU. BCPC and the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) have referred to the European Ombudsman this failure of the European Commission to ensure that the political decision-makers (European Council and European Parliament) were properly informed of the likely impact before they made their decisions - for details, see:

This complaint is under investigation by the European Ombudsman: Registration number 3363/2008/EC.

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