Herbicide ban dismissed in parliamentary vote

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An attempt to effectively ban farmers from using a “vital” herbicide has been resisted in a European Parliamentary vote, much to the relief of industry leaders.

MEPs on the Environment Committee had passed a resolution objecting to the approval of glyphosate - a widely-used weedkiller - a decision which triggered the vote in full parliament on Wednesday.

Calls for a ban came despite the EU Commission proposing that the product’s authorisation, which was due to expire on June 30, be renewed. Scientists at the European Food Safety Authority had researched the substance and reported it poses no unacceptable environmental risk when used appropriately, and is unlikely to pose a hazard to humans.

Meurig Raymond, president of the National Farmers’ Union, said: “The result of this vote is very welcome news. It’s fundamental that the agricultural sector is able to use glyphosate responsibly in order to produce healthy products across the sector entering the food chain, reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and continue to farm sustainably.”

Conservative MEP for Yorkshire and Humber, Amjad Bashir, said the demand for a ban was “irrational and unnecessary”.

“For market gardeners and arable farmers, this product is vital,” he said. “It is also important for maintaining hard surfaces - such as runways at airports - and keeping them free from damaging weeds.

“We should listen to the science, not ignore it. Farmers were extremely concerned by the prospect of losing this product. They need what help they can to give us the food we need and we should allow what we reasonably can.”