Pesticide use reduction targets resurrected by MEPs

The European Parliament’s environment committee has voted to resurrect proposals that could lead to the setting of reduction targets for pesticide use across Europe.

The amendment to the directive on the sustainable use of pesticides, which is a different directive to the controversial pesticide approvals legislation the committee also voted on yesterday (5 Nov), will require national action plans for reducing the volume of pesticides used to include quantitative targets.

For “active substances of very high concern” and those classified as “toxic or very toxic”, the target will be a minimum 50% reduction.

The proposal was slammed by the Friedhelm Schmider, director general of the European Crop Protection Association. “Fixing arbitrary use reduction targets does not work, as already seen in the failure to achieve use reduction targets set in Denmark.

“Pesticide use responds to real, local pest management needs, not to targets. Hence, the way forward is through improving practices,” he said.

Environment committee MEPs have also restored their first-reading demand for buffer zones around watercourses and even tougher measures where drinking water sources are concerned.

The European Parliament’s desire for “substantial no-spray zones” to be established around areas such as hospitals, parks and playgrounds was also reinstated.

EU farm ministers had dropped these proposals when it reached political agreement on the draft directive last December.

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