29 November 1996

Europe lagging behind in pesticide registration…

EUROPE is dragging it heels on pesticide registration, according to Pierre Urech, director general of the European Crop Protection Association.

Calling for less bureaucracy, Dr Urech pointed out that in 1995 the US registered 40 new compounds, including bio-pesticides. Between 1992 and June this year Japan registered 58. By contrast, no new compounds have been cleared under the EUs Registration Directive 91/414/EEC since July 1993, he said. "We are lagging behind the US and Japan." Dr Urech also stressed that reductions in the use of crop protection chemicals across Europe were largely irrespective of laws requiring cuts. By 1995 growers were using an average of 25% less chemical by volume than they were in 1991, he said.

Integrated crop and pest management, which the ECPA sees as the way ahead, plus more active products and better application techniques, are the main reasons for the drop, he believes.

Safety standards are already very high, he added. "Before we have any new legislation, there must be a full cost-benefit analysis." The so-called Uniform Principles intended to harmonise EU pesticides standards and improve overall safety are currently suspended while officials sort out wordings related to groundwater, according to an ECPA spokesman.