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Pesticides: EU Action

Volume 489: debated on Tuesday 10 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he plans to take to implement the new EU pesticides legislation; and what the timetable for implementation will be. (258817)

The Government have generally welcomed the European Commission's thematic strategy on the sustainable use of pesticides. However, throughout the negotiation process, the UK consistently argued that the proposals should be based on sound evidence and supported by an impact assessment. In particular, we remain opposed to the use of hazard cut off criteria which will have a detrimental agronomic impact, but have not been demonstrated to deliver a positive benefit for human health. In the absence of an impact assessment, it is impossible to judge whether there will be any positive benefit accruing from this element of the proposals.

Nevertheless, the regulation concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market and the framework Directive on the sustainable use of pesticides are expected to be approved by the Council in the near future. They will then be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

The regulation will enter into force 20 days after publication. It will apply generally 18 months later, with specific timescales laid down for certain provisions and transitional measures for active substances already subject to approval arrangements under Council Directive 91/414/EEC.

The Directive will enter into force on the day following publication. Member states will have two years to develop any implementing legislation or administrative provisions, with specific timescales laid down for the implementation of certain provisions.

The Government are developing detailed plans for implementing the new legislation and will consult stakeholders on proposed measures where appropriate.