Some of Britain’s leading scientists have appealed to the government to resist proposed EU legislation on the use of agrochemical products

EU proposals to limit the availability of a wide range of agrochemical products used in the production of cereals, fruit and vegetables have been criticised by some of Britain’s leading scientists.In an open letter to Hilary Benn, seven top scientists in the field have criticised the EU Commission’s proposals, which would severely impact on Europe’s ability to produce food, as being based on politics and not science.   “At a time of international food shortages the proposal will have a devastating effect on farming and food production in the UK and across Europe. To introduce such measures in the midst of this crisis is an international scandal and must be resisted. There is no evidence of public health benefit to justify these proposals,” said Dr. Colin Ruscoe of the British Crop Production Council, organisers of the letter.  “The heads of publicly-funded world class agriculture science institutions in the UK have come together to sound the alarm and call for the UK government to challenge the scientific basis for these draconian regulations and to put their commitment to evidence-based policy into practice,” he added. The Directive was approved by the Council of EU Agriculture Ministers at the end of last month.  It now goes to the EU parliament, which has called for even tighter controls to be imposed.“The UK government abstained and we applaud them for that – but it now needs to do everything it can to ensure that British MEPs also oppose the measure,” added Dr. Ruscoe.“The proposal will move pesticide regulation to a hazard-based regime in which “cut offs” are politically determined. The existing very stringent European process for regulation of agrochemicals is based on a scientific approach, assessing both the intrinsic hazard of the chemical and exposure in practice to ensure negligible risk – and then applying large safety margins to reduce it still further.”

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