Byline: Karen Dent
CONTROVERSIAL reports of a 'blacklist' of 22 active substances that will be banned under new European pesticide legislation are untrue and unhelpful, according to the British Crop Production Council (BCPC).
The organisation says "disinformation" by the European Parliament's Rapporteur, the official appointed to investigate the issue, has led to many farmers believing certain substances will be banned this year.
BCPC chairman Dr Colin Ruscoe said: "Apart from the unscientific basis of the legislation, we have an immediate issue with the so-called blacklist.
The new regulation does not contain a blacklist of substances, merely the requirement for their evaluation using new guideline studies and assessment criteria.
"Whether these substances will be withdrawn depends entirely on this further evaluation - which will only just be starting in 2009." There are serious concerns among arable farmers and growers about the legislation's likely effects on key products that have been used for years. It is predicted that production will fall and food prices will rise if the commonly-used substances are removed from use.
Britain is set to oppose the regulation on this basis at the forthcoming Council of Ministers, with support from Ireland, Spain and Hungary.
They are also unhappy about the stringent terms of the legislation, which was passed by the European Parliament in January.
Efforts by groups including the BCPC and the NFU before the vote, to highlight the problems in removing these pesticides, and to look at the issue from a scientific basis, failed to persuade a majority of MEPs. …