The European Parliament's temporary committee on pesticides must take a common sense approach to regulation if it is to make a useful contribution, a leading member said.
 
Anthea McIntyre MEP, UK Conservative spokesman on Agriculture, told a Brussels debate on pesticides regulation to bear in mind that the so-called PEST committee was a political initiative by certain political groups with an eye to next year’s European elections. It had a temporary lifespan and a short timeline.
 
Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, was a panelist in the debate "How should we regulate pesticides?", organised by the publisher Euractiv.
 
She said: "The whole process is relatively short, it will only produce an opinion, not legislation. I nevertheless would welcome the opportunity for MEPs to ask questions to experts in a format that allows a 'ping-pong' of questions and answers back and forth."
 
Miss McIntyre said that the argument for some people was not about whether glyphosate was safe or not. It was about whether we should authorise any chemicals for use in food and agricultural production.
 
She said: "In my opinion, we should authorise them because we need them if we are to maintain food security. We must have a common sense approach to this issue.”
 
Miss McIntyre rejected an assertion by an agricultural trade union that farmers generally used pesticides inappropriately.
 
She said chemicals were expensive, so farmers would use the smallest amount possible. Precision farming and integrated pest-management methods were making sure pesticides were applied in an ever more efficient and environmentally-friendly way.
 
“I hope that something sensible will come out of the PEST committee and I hope it will deliver on its mandate. We need to provide science-based policy making and distinguish fact from fiction.”