UK farmers should be able to access new crop protection products quicker than their EU counterparts post-Brexit, the chief executive of the Crop Protection Association (CPA) has said.
Dave Bench, who headed up the UK regulatory authority for plant protection products before taking up the reins at the CPA, explained that the UK vastly outperforms other EU member states when it comes to assessing and authorising new substances.
And he pointed out EU farmers would suffer as a result of losing the UK’s regulatory capacity after Brexit, with other member states unwilling to provide the resource necessary to meet legal deadlines for assessing new active substances and reviewing existing ones.
Speaking during the CropTec Show’s Brexit webinar last week, Mr Bench said: “In some areas, the UK was doing as much as a third of the work of the EU work programme.
“If you take the UK regulatory capacity out of the EU programme, they are going to be much slower in assessing active substances, whether new substances or as part of the review programme, than they even were when the UK was part of the EU.
“I think there is potentially a real benefit if the UK regulator is able to deal with new active substances as a priority and get those to market as quickly as possible, assuming the risk assessment process results in an authorisation for products.
“That is certainly one of the big benefits we could get the other side of the Brexit process.”
Mr Bench’s comments come three years after Farmers Guardian saw a secret presentation given by European Commission officials, which revealed the UK was much quicker at processing registrations than other countries such as France or Germany.
For the year 2013-14, the UK received 285 applications for evaluation of new products – more than any other member state. It went on to make decisions on 69 per cent of those applications.
France received the second largest number of applications, 248, but only made decisions on 14 per cent.
Germany performed even worse, making decisions on just 2 per cent of the 140 applications it received.
To watch the CropTec webinar, click HERE.