MEPs have voted to call on the European Commission to fast-track approval of ‘low-risk’ biological pesticides made from bio-organisms, pheromones and essential oils.
The vote was held as a result of the public debate around conventional pesticides, which the MEPs said pose ‘potential risks’ for human health, animals and the environment.
Only seven active substances classified as ‘low risk’ alternatives have been approved for use in the EU and some member states have refused to authorise them because of their perceived lower efficacy.
MEP for the South West Julie Girling was lead negotiator for her group on the vote.
She said: “Sadly this resolution is a product of tunnel vision. It looks only at biological pesticides, when we need to be looking at the possibilities from the whole range of low-risk products, including synthetic and chemical ones.
“We are all for giving farmers and growers the best plant-protection toolbox possible, once all due consideration has been paid to questions of efficacy, as well as the risk to human health and the environment.
“In the wake of the moratorium on neonicotinoids – and its devastating consequences for oilseed rape production in the EU – this is more important than ever.
“We need to overcome this apparent fetish over biological products. Instead, we must have a regime which assesses all potential products – regardless of origin or method of production – on an equal basis with a consistent and realistic measurement of potential risk.”