The UK must leave the EU to embrace beneficial technology which could reduce agricultural plastic waste, among other things, says UKIP MEP Stuart Agnew.
Apart from the relentless war on pesticides being waged by the EU against farmers, there have been two further pieces of legislation on different topics that demonstrate why Brexit is essential.
The first is about the disposal of waste plastic. There is no doubt this causes serious maritime environmental problems.
Symphony Environmental Technologies, a firm in Hertfordshire in my Eastern England constituency, anticipated this some years ago and have developed a product – oxo-biodegradable plastic.
A chemical is incorporated into the plastic which ultimately breaks it down into such small fragments that they lose their polymer structure and are no longer technically plastic.
But it gets better, because the customer can specify how long they want the plastic to last before the degradation commences.
In UK agriculture, we consume colossal quantities of plastic as winter frost protection for vulnerable crops and for haylage/silage wrap.
Both become too contaminated for credible recycling and both cost money to dispose of legally.
If Symphony’s product was used, the plastic could be stacked in a redundant building after use and would slowly disappear.
Rather than seizing on this remarkable technology, the EU has done everything it can to suppress it.
The Environment Committee there has claimed that it is not genuinely bio-degradable because of the catalyst chemical, and that the ocean is too cold for this technology to work properly.
This is a spurious argument because, as mentioned above, it never needs to get as far as the ocean.
There is, of course, more to this than meets the eye.
An Italian firm has an inferior technology, whose use the Italian Government has made mandatory, and they would like the Commission to do the same across the EU.
The Commission has responded by instigating a full scientific study of the British concept.
This has not been completed, but the European Parliament has not bothered to wait for the results and, last week, pushed through legislation which denies the right of oxo-biodegradable products to be classed as ‘biodegradable’, an essential classification if, in time, only plastics with this badge can be sold.
There was also a recent European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling that genome editing plant breeding methods must face the same massive regulatory hurdles as genetic modification, effectively making it impossible to develop genome editing, which manages a plant’s natural mutation system, as opposed to incorporating foreign DNA.
This has created despair, dismay, distress and disbelief across the European scientific community, but what a wonderful opportunity for a post-Brexit Britain.