Pesticides: the Environment Committee adopted its position on SUR


The Environment Committee adopted its position on measures to ensure sustainable pesticides use and reduce the use and risk of all chemical pesticides by at least 50 % by 2030. The European Parliament’s Environment Committee voted on October 24 to adopt a position calling for a reduction in the use of chemical pesticides by 50% by 2030 and the use of so-called “more hazardous products” by 65%, compared to the 2013-2017 average. The Commission proposed a 50% target for both based on the 2015-2017 average. Rapporteur Sarah Wiener’s opinion on the ‘sustainable use regulation’ (SUR), was adopted by 47 votes for to 37 against with two abstentions.

The ENVI position invites Member States to adopt their own national targets and strategies, based on the annual sales of pesticides, their hazard level and each country’s agricultural area. The EU executive would then verify whether the national targets are sufficiently ambitious to achieve the 2030 targets. Countries would have to have specific rules in place for the five crops where a reduction in pesticide use would have the greatest impact. Under the ENVI position, there would be a ban on pesticide use, except for those allowed for organic farming and biological control, in sensitive areas, and in a five-metre buffer zone, covering urban green spaces including parks, playgrounds, recreation areas, public paths, as well as Natura 2000 areas.

The new rules would mean that Member States must ensure that chemical pesticides are only used as a last resort. MEPs are calling on the Commission to set, six months after the entry into force of the regulation, a target for 2030 to increase sales of low-risk pesticides. The EU executive would also be required to look at ways to accelerate the authorisation process for low-risk pesticides and biocontrol. The Committee also stipulates that the introduction of the new rules must be gradual to minimise any impact on food security. The ENVI plan requires the Commission to look at the differences in pesticide use on imported compared with EU products. If needed, it must propose measures to ensure imports meet standards equivalent to those of the Union. The export of pesticides not approved in the EU would be banned.

The changes introduced by the new rules would be gradual to minimise any impact on food security.

The European Parliament is due to adopt its mandate at the November 20-23 plenary, after which it will be ready to start negotiations with Member States.

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