In January 2009 the European Parliament approved new European Union pesticides legislation that will change the way plant protection products are licensed and produced and the way they are used.
The pesticides 'package' comprises several distinct parts. Legislation dealing with the production and licensing of pesticides will see some ‘active substances’ (the chemical ingredients of pesticides) banned. In particular, the legislation seeks to outlaw highly toxic chemicals, such as those that cause cancer.
Another part, the Directive on the sustainable use of pesticides, emphasises the importance of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which will have to be encouraged by Member States as an alternative to the use of pesticides. In addition some practices, such as aerial spraying and the use of pesticides in public areas, will either be banned or substantially reduced.
In addition, new legislation is also being passed on the collection of statistics on pesticides and an amendment is being made to the Directive dealing with machinery for pesticide application.
UPDATE January 2010: At the end of November 2009, the European Commission officially adopted and published the Regulation concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market, the Directive establishing a framework for Community action for the sustainable use of pesticides and the Directive dealing with machinery for pesticide application. In addition, in December 2009 the Regulation concerning statistics on pesticides was adopted. You can read the complete documents below:
You can also download these documents in six languages in ENDURE's library of European documents. If the language you require is not here, visit the website of EUR-Lex, which carries details of all European Union law in all 23 official languages.
The key points of the Regulation dealing with the production and licensing of pesticides are:
The European Parliament believes both manufacturers and pesticide users will benefit because Member States will be able to license pesticide products at national level or through mutual recognition. The EU will be divided into three zones (north, centre and south*) with compulsory mutual recognition within each zone as the basic rule. This, it says, will make it easier for manufacturers to gain approval for their products across borders within a given zone and thus make more pesticides available to users more quickly. However, following pressure from MEPs, individual States will be allowed to ban a product, for example because of specific environmental or agricultural circumstances.
The new legislation will only gradually supersede existing EU law. Pesticides which can be placed on the market under current legislation will remain available until their existing authorisation expires. Thus, says Parliament, there will be no sudden large-scale withdrawal of products from the market. (The German Federal Ministry on Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection has conducted an interesting assessment of the legislation. Click below to download or read it).
The key points of the Directive on the sustainable use of pesticides (to be translated into National Action Plans by Member States by December 2012) are:
* The zones are:
North: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden.
Centre: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and United Kingdom.
South: Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain.
ENDURE believes the strict stance taken by the EU on pesticide legislation means there must be parallel, sustained and equally determined action to promote the design and implementation of new solutions in order to develop integrated pest management schemes that contribute to sustainable development while preserving the competitiveness of European agriculture. You can read more by downloading ENDURE's position paper on European legislation: