Farmers have welcomed the conclusions of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) after it declared the scientific evidence “did not meet the criteria to classify glyphosate as a carcinogen, as a mutagen or as toxic for reproduction”.
This widely used herbicide has been a mainstay on arable farms for the past 40 years and was due to be relicensed last year, but this was put on hold by the EC after concerns were raised that it might be carcinogenic.
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The opinion by the ECHA will now go to the EU Commission and to member states with the timetable based on a decision before the end of the temporary extension which runs out at the end of this year.
Reacting to the clearance, NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick said it echoed the clean bill of health given by other bodies.
“This scientific opinion – along with those already given – must be given precedence when the EU commission and member states decide on the re-authorisation of glyphosate later this year.”
He stressed the importance of the herbicide in today’s farming, saying “Glyphosate is a key tool for farmers, allowing them to control weeds and use environmentally friendly techniques, such as minimum tillage, which reduce soil erosion and greenhouse gas emissions.
“Glyphosate is also used to dry ripening crops, thereby reducing the industry’s reliance on fossil fuels to do so.”
McCornick called on union members to contact MEPs to make the same points on using glyphosate so that when the decision is due in Brussels, the elected members will be fully aware of its importance to Scottish farming.