Press release: Bad week for British farming

This week has been full of bad news for British farmers. On November 9th a committee of experts from EU Member States failed to reach a qualified majority on the decision as to whether to renew the licence on glyphosate, the controversial herbicide. The Commission had proposed renewal for a five year period when the current licence expires on December 15th this year. The decision will now be postponed, with the Commission possibly redrafting their proposal.

John Procter, Conservative MEP representing Yorkshire and The Humber, said: “With both the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) declaring that glyphosate does not pose a carcinogenic risk, the result from the expert committee is disappointing. My Conservative colleagues and I will continue to do all we can for a speedy renewal of the glyphosate licence. I know many farmers from the region are dependent on it in order to kill the weeds that threaten their crops and their livelihoods would suffer severely without it.”

In another blow to farmers, Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has altered the UK government position on neonicotonoid pesticides, three types of which have been banned by the European Commission since 2013 due to their alleged risk to the bee population. Gove declared today that he would support this ban being extended to non-flowering crops and that these restrictions would be kept in place after Brexit.

John Procter said: “Debate continues on bee health and the effect of neonicotonoids upon their population but, given the lack of clear scientific evidence proving a negative impact, the decision to extend this ban seems rash.”