Last week, the EU Environment Committee voted to continue with its plan to restrict the number of pesticides available to growers and farmers. And although amendments were made to the legislation to reduce the number of pesticides banned, producers remain worried.
The decision not to order an impact assessment incensed the Fresh Produce Consortium, which claimed fruit and veg prices would rocket and food security be put at risk by the proposals. It would also become uneconomical to grow some crops in the UK, it added.
"It seems crazy that the European Parliament could get away with making decisions without any scientific basis or regard to the devastating impact of their proposals," said FPC chief executive Nigel Jenney.
The proposals will now move to a plenary vote, expected to be held in Strasbourg in the next two months. It was essential MEPs were convinced to vote against them, Jenney said. "We must hold MEPs accountable for the repercussions of their decision-making ," he added.
The NFU said it was "dismayed and disappointed" at the decision, as it would lead to a reduction in crop yield and quality, particularly in field vegetables.
"The Environment Committee has failed to understand that having an armoury of plant protection products available is vital to ensure a sufficient supply of safe and affordable food to meet rising world demand," said NFU president Peter Kendall.
The revised proposals did not go far enough for ornamental plant producers either, the Horticultural Trade Association added. "Without addressing the issues of substitution, technical criteria for registration and the overriding need for an impact assessment, the legislation will have a highly detrimental effect on the industry," said Tim Briercliffe, HTA director of business development.