Herbicide glyphosate given interim approval for 18 months

With most eyes in Europe focused on the UK's decision to leave the EU earlier this week, the Commission quietly confirmed that the widely used herbicide, glyphosate, had been granted an interim re-approval for 18 months.

The NFUS welcomed the reprieve for glyphosate. Picture: Michael Gillen
The NFUS welcomed the reprieve for glyphosate. Picture: Michael Gillen

During this period, the European Agency for Chemical Products will reassess the safety of the product, which was originally put forward for a 15 year re-registration.

The news was widely welcomed in the UK yesterday – and no extra restrictions we replaced on its use as a pre-harvest desiccant, an important role in wetter climates such as Scotland’s.

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Coming only 48 hours before the product would have been taken off the market, the move was welcomed by NFU Scotland.

However, the union said that the temporary nature of the re-registration remained worrying as it had argued there was no evidence to indicate that the chemical posed any risk when used properly, adding that the use of glyphosate had become highly politicised.

“Our farmers need glyphosate to provide a safe, secure and affordable food supply while increasingly responding to consumer demand for greater environmental sensitivity,” said union president Allan Bowie.

“What we need to work towards now is a longer-term decision on the use of glyphosate and we will be working with the UK unions to press for European officials to make that decision in due course.”

However, the move was condemned by Friends of the Earth who said that despite the Brexit vote, the UK government should realise that glyphosate’s days were numbered.