The European Parliament has rejected a proposal from the European Commission that would have cut the use of chemical pesticides in the EU by half by 2030.
In a vote yesterday (22 November), 299 MEPs voted to reject the plan, as amended by MEPs in plenary session, with 207 supporting the proposal.
The EU Council, representing EU governments, still has to decide on its own position on the proposal to determine whether it is definitively rejected, or returns to the European Parliament for a second reading.
‘Relief’ for farmers
The IFA described the outcome as “a major relief for farmers”.
“There wasn’t sufficient time given to discuss the full implications of what was proposed. If there is one learning from this outcome, it’s that policy makers have to engage fully before bringing new regulations forward,” said the IFA’s National Grain Chair Kieran McEvoy.
The Green MEP Sarah Wiener described the vote as “a bitter blow for the protection of the environment and public health”.
The commission’s initial proposal had described current rules on pesticides as “too weak”, and had proposed legally binding targets at EU and national level.
As well as the 50% reduction target, the proposal required farmers to practise Integrated Pest Management (IPM), in which alternative, environmentally friendly methods of pest prevention and control were considered first, before the use of chemical pesticides as a last resort.
The new law would have prohibited the use of all pesticides in urban green areas – including public parks or gardens, playgrounds, schools, recreation or sports grounds, public paths and protected areas.