British MEP Anthea McIntyre has welcomed a last minute reprieve for glyphosate after it was belatedly granted a fresh licence for continued use across the European Union.
The decision to grant the herbicide a licence for a further five years was reached today (Mon) by the EU Commission's Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed, comprising representatives of the 28 member states, after a series of meetings this year failed reach consensus. The approval comes just a few days before the current licence expires on December 15, which left many farmers fearing a sudden ban with drastic effects.
Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, said: "The scaremongering and indecision over this product had left farmers and growers fearing they were staring over a cliff edge, so this will be greeted with enormous relief."
www.euronews.com reports that Germany swung the vote, coming off the fence after abstaining in previous meetings to oppose its key EU partner France, which wanted a shorter licence extension.
The Miss McIntyre, member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee, said: "It should never have taken this long to renew the licence and it should have been renewed for a full 15 years but the last minute reprieve and the licence for five years is welcome.
"A *de facto *ban on glyphosate would have been a shocking and unscientific backward step.
"Farmers would have had to fall back on mechanical weed control. That would mean 25 per cent increase in greenhouse gas emissions and a significant impact on farm bird life - including skylarks, partridge, lapwing.
"For a zero Improvement in public health and safety, we would have been worsening food security, soil quality, biodiversity and climate change."